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Written by Admin    Monday, 13 August 2007 09:55    PDF Print
Survey: Gymnastics Most Popular Sport
Gymnastics is America's favorite Olympic sport, according to a survey published Monday by USA Today.

In the survey of more than 1,000 people aged 18 and up, 69 percent of respondents chose gymnastics as a favorite Olympic sport. Sixty-two percent chose swimming and diving as a favorite. (Respondents could pick more than one).

The third and fourth most popular are track and field (46 percent) and basketball (35 percent). Baseball was the fifth most popular with 32 percent, though 2008 will be the last time baseball will be in the Olympics. Baseball and softball were eliminated from the 2012 Olympic Games through an IOC vote in 2005.

The 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing begin on Aug. 8, 2008.

Written by John Crumlish    Tuesday, 07 August 2007 09:49    PDF Print
Debauve Details Diverse Ambitions
(1 vote, average 5.00 out of 5)
Although 2005 European all-around champion Marine Debauve competed at the French Team Championships in June, she told IG she is not likely to return to international competition.

Debauve announced her retirement from international competition shortly after the 2005 World Championships in Melbourne. In April and October 2006, she had wrist surgery. Between operations she began training as a diver.

Marine Debave

"I really like diving for fun, but to train every day quickly reminded me of the repetition I found in gymnastics," said the 18-year-old Debauve, a native of Dijon. "Therefore I stopped."

Earlier this year, Debauve resumed light training in gymnastics, and competed on balance beam and floor exercise for the Créteil club at the French Team Championships held in June.

"It was good to find the sensations again," Debauve told IG this week. "Although the idea of returning to the high level crosses my mind sometimes, I know that this is going to be very hard and I knew the sacrifices it would take. Therefore, for the moment this is not in my plan."

Debauve, who at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games earned the French women's best all-around finish in Olympic history, said she has faith in the new generation of French gymnasts. She named Cassy Vericel, Marine Petit and Katheleen Lindor as strong candidates for the 2008 Beijing Games, and added that the current team is strong enough without her.

"They have progressed a lot, and I hope they will be able to qualify the French team for 2008!" Debauve said. "I am not sure that the team really needs me. Above all my wrist has not fully healed, so I could probably no longer do uneven bars. And in this situation there is already (2004 Olympic bars champion) Emilie Le Pennec and maybe Isabelle Severino."

When Debauve announced her retirement in 2006, she noted her interest in becoming a trainer of dogs - specifically for customs inspections. She has been unable to pursue that line of work, though, because of her petite size.

"To enter the gendarme or the army, there is a height requirement of 1.60 meters, and unfortunately I am 3 or 4 centimeters short of that," Debauve said. "Therefore I have enrolled in the sport science program at the university. And if nothing pleases me, then the year after I would take up studies in business."

Debauve said that, in spite of the challenges she has faced in the recent past, she has achieved much.

"This year has been really good for me," Debauve said. "I got my driver's license, and I passed my bac (university entrance exams)!"

Marine Debauve is featured in the following issues of International Gymnast magazine:
April 2006 - "Debauve Departs" (retirement feature)
August/September 2005 - 2005 European Championships coverage
October 2004 - 2004 Olympic Games special issue

To subscribe to IG, click here.

Written by John Crumlish    Thursday, 02 August 2007 09:47    PDF Print
Hasenöhrl Reflects On Sudden Retirement

Austria's Carina Hasenöhrl, who in the July/August issue of IG recounts her comeback following a neck injury last fall, said she plans to enroll in college after a serious knee injury this spring ended her career.

Carina Hasenöhrl

An all-around finalist at the 2005 European Championships and the winner of 10 Austrian titles, Hasenöhrl had been been training in the Netherlands since 2004. In training last fall, she landed head-first on a tumbling element on floor exercise. She was later diagnosed with a broken vertebra and another displaced one.

"Scientifically viewed, my strong muscles saved me, but personally I believe in destiny," Hasenöhrl wrote in the IG article. "It just had to be this way."

Hasenöhrl returned to competition at the Dutch Championships this spring. On the dismount of her first event, balance beam, she tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee.

"I didn't land properly and the dream was over," said Hasenöhrl, who referred to the meet as "nevertheless the most beautiful day of my life."

Although Hasenöhrl hoped to compete at the upcoming World Championships (Sept. 1-9 in Stuttgart) and qualify there for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, the knee injury has prompted her retirement. She plans to enroll in college in October.

"I can't make it to Worlds anymore, nor to the Olympics," Hasenöhrl told IG. "That is what made me leave the sport I love that much. I'm so sorry everything has turned the way it has."

Read "The Courage of Carina," Hasenöhrl's inspiring story written in her own words, in the July/August 2007 issue of International Gymnast magazine. To subscribe to IG, click here.

Written by Admin    Wednesday, 01 August 2007 09:46    PDF Print
France Names World Team
(1 vote, average 3.00 out of 5)
Reigning French national all-around champions Katheleen Lindor and Dmitry Karbanenko will lead their country's team at the World Championships, Sept. 1-9 in Stuttgart.
Katheleen Lindor

Lindor and Karbanenko were among 16 gymnasts named to the French squad in a recent announcement by the French Gymnastics Federation.

Lindor, who placed 20th all-around at the 2006 World Championships, will be joined by Emilie Le Pennec, the 2004 Olympic uneven bars champion; Marine Petit, the 2007 French champion on balance beam and floor exercise; Cassy Vericel, who placed 13th all-around at the 2007 European Championships; Laetitia Dugain, who placed fourth all-around at the 2007 French Championships; and Pauline Morel, who placed seventh all-around at the 2007 French Championships.

The alternates are Erika Morel, a member of France's 10th-place team at the 2006 Worlds, and two-time Olympian Isabelle Severino, who finished 11th all-around at the 2006 World Championships.

A native of Russia, 34-year-old Karbanenko placed 15th all-around at both the 2006 Worlds and 2007 Europeans. He will be joined in Stuttgart by 2004 Olympian Pierre-Yves Beny, the 2007 French all-around silver medalist; Benoit Caranobe, who finished 17th all-around at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games; Yann Cucherat, the 2005 Worlds bronze medalist on parallel bars; Gael Da Silva, a member of France's 10th-place team at the 2006 Worlds; and Hamilton Sabot, the 2007 French all-around bronze medalist.

The alternates are Arnaud Willig, a member of France's sixth-place team at the 2006 Europeans; and Yann Rayepin, a member of France's 10th-place team at the 2006 Worlds.

The top 12 women's and men's teams in Stuttgart will qualify for next summer's Beijing Olympic Games. At the 2006 Worlds, in Aarhus, Denmark, the French women and the French men both placed 10th.

International Gymnast magazine will be on hand in Stuttgart, so look for complete coverage of the 2007 World Championships in a future issue.

IG Magazine Related Features
2006 World Championships special issue (December 2006)
"A La Mode" - Le Pennec profile (August/September 2004)
Severino on cover (August/September 2005)
"10-Month Comeback" - short Severino profile (November 2004)
"Taking Success In Stride" - Caranobe profile (May 2004)
"Karbanenko Makes It Count" - profile (February 2003)
"C'est La Vie" - Karbanenko cover story (May 1998)

To subscribe to IG Magazine or order back issues, click here.

Written by John Crumlish    Thursday, 26 July 2007 08:35    PDF Print
Canadian Champions Counting Down to Worlds
2007 Canadian champions David Kikuchi and Kristina Vaculik told IG they are fine-tuning their routines for the upcoming World Championships, Sept. 1-9 in Stuttgart.

Kikuchi, who this spring won his second consecutive Canadian men's all-around title, said he and his teammates aim to qualify a full team for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. To accomplish that goal, they need to finish among the top 12 in Stuttgart. The Canadian men finished a historical-best sixth place at the 2006 World Championships, held in Aarhus, Denmark.

"We have been training hard, and we know what we have to do," Kikuchi said. "In Stuttgart we will have to compete well, with our main goal being to qualify for Beijing."

Kikuchi was the top Canadian all-arounder at the 2003 Worlds in Anaheim, where he finished 20th. He was a member of the 11th-place Canadian team at the 2004 Athens Olympics. Kikuchi is married to 2000 Olympian Crystal Gilmore, a member of Canada's 2006 women's world team that placed 14th.

Kikuchi said winning the Canadian title again has boosted his confidence for future competitions, both at home and abroad.

"Last year I wasn't expecting to win, with a lot of our young guys like Adam Wong and Nathan Gafuik really improving," he said. "This time the focus was on getting a good start on qualifying for the Worlds team, and not on defending my title, so that made it easier. Winning again this time is icing on the cake. Having been within a tenth or two a couple of times before made it that much sweeter. Also, the experiences of being a close second helped me to focus."

The 15-year-old Vaculik, a first-year senior, was recently named to the Canadian women's team for the upcoming Worlds. She and 2006 world balance beam bronze medalist Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs are expected to be among the Canadian team leaders in Stuttgart.

Coached by 1980 Olympic all-around champion Yelena Davydova and Valery Vahchybekov at Gemini Gymnastics Club in Ontario, Vaculik said she was pleased with her performance at the recent Canadian team trials. She finished first all-around, and said she wants to improve her performances by Worlds.

"I need to perfect my routines and make then tighter," she said. "Like on bars, I need tighter handstands, and just to clean up my routines in general."

At the Worlds trials, Vaculik said she had a problem on a beam combination (flip-flop, tucked full) that she attempted for only the second time in competition.

"I didn't stick it, but it was almost there," Vaculik said. "I just need more practice and repetition, and it will be there."

Vaculik said her consistency and power on all four events are the result of balanced workouts.

"When I train, I train on every event equally," she said. "Time and repetition on each event has brought me that all-around 'thing'!"

Vaculik, who spent last weekend relaxing with her family at their summer cottage, said she enjoys viewing Davydova's classic performances online.

"Sometimes I go on YouTube and watch," she said. "Gymnastics was so different back then!"

IG Online Related Features
Canada Names Women's Worlds Team (July 17, 2007)
Vaculik, Kikuchi Win Canadian Championships (May 24, 2007)
Hard Work Ahead For Hopfner-Hibbs (December 31, 2007)
Gilmore, Kikuchi Enjoy Holiday Honeymoon (December 27, 2007)
Interview: Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs

International Gymnast Magazine Related Features:
Davydova interview (July/August 2007)
2007 International Gymnastics Hall of Fame Induction - featuring Davydova (June 2007)
"All In A Day's Work" - Hopfner-Hibbs profile (March 2007)

To subscribe to IG Magazine or order back issues, click here.


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