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Written by Admin    Thursday, 23 August 2007 10:33    PDF Print
U.S. Women See Golden Potential At Worlds
Newly crowned U.S. champion Shawn Johnson and teammate Shayla Worley told IG the American women have the potential to win the team title at the World Championships, Sept. 1-9 in Stuttgart.
Shayla Worley

"We'll be one of the strongest teams there," said Johnson, just after winning the all-around title at the U.S. Championships that took place August 15-18 in San Jose. "I want to go in as a team and definitely come out with a gold. But individually, I want to do my best and have fun."

Immediately following the U.S. Championships, Johnson and six other women were named to the U.S. team for Stuttgart. Six of the gymnasts will compete, and the alternate will be determined prior to competition.

In addition to Johnson and Worley, the team includes Nastia Liukin, Ivana Hong, Bridget Sloan, Alicia Sacramone and Samantha Peszek.

The U.S. women won their first and only world championships team title in Anaheim in 2003. The team finished second in 1991, 1994 and 2006 and third in 1995 and 2001.

Liukin and Sacramone are the only members of the U.S. team for Stuttgart who have prior World Championships experience. At the 2005 Worlds, held in Melbourne, Liukin finished second all-around, first on uneven bars and first on balance beam; and Sacramone finished first on floor exercise and third on vault. At the 2006 Worlds, held in Aarhus, Denmark, Liukin finished second on uneven bars, and Sacramone finished second on vault.

2005 world all-around champion Chellsie Memmel, the sole member of the 2003 gold-medal winning team still competing internationally, competed on only floor exercise on the first day of the competition. She was not named to the U.S. team for Stuttgart, but was named to the U.S. national team for 2007-2008.

Johnson said the team for Stuttgart is an ideal combination of veterans and newcomers.

"As a group, I think we're the strongest team ever," she said. "We have Nastia and Alicia who bring the experience. And then the younger ones like Shayla, Bridget, Ivana, Sam and I bring energy and spirit. I think that, when mixed together, we will make a perfect team."

Like Johnson, Worley said she is optimistic about her prospects, as well as the team's chances, in Stuttgart.

"I'm super excited that hopefully I will compete my skill on beam (Onodi to two feet), and it will be named after me," Worley said. "The biggest goal is to help our team win the World Championships - to win that gold! All we need to do is hit. We are, in my opinion, by far the best team out there. All we have to do is get together that day and go out there and do our stuff, and I don't think anybody can beat us!"

Worley said she was pleased with her second-place performance in San Jose, where she competed in her first U.S. Senior Championships.

"Of course, my ultimate goal is always winning, but I try not to think of the outcome," said Worley, who placed third at the 2005 U.S. Junior Championships but did not compete in 2006 because of injury. "I focus on one skill at a time and not get ahead of myself. My goal are winning and making the team and all that great stuff, but you just have to take it slowly."

Worley said she was especially confident on the second day of competition in San Jose.

"The first day, I was a little more nervous than usual, but (on the second day) I walked in there and knew it was going to be a great day," said Worley, who trains at Orlando Metro in Florida. "I could just feel it. I felt confident, and I went out there and did my stuff."

To read IG Online's live coverage of the 2007 U.S. Championships, click here.

IG Magazine Related Features
"Back in Focus" Worley cover story (July/August 2007)
Peszek center poster (July/August 2007)
Johnson on cover (April 2007)
"A Taste of China" - Johnson feature (November 2006)
Johnson on cover, Johnson center poster (October 2006)
Peszek profile (November 2006)
Liukin and Sacramone on cover, 2005 Worlds special issue (January/February 2006)
Sacramone interview (April 2006)
"Shooting Star" - Johnson profile (January 2006)
Liukin on cover, Liukin center poster (October 2005)
Liukin on cover (April 2005)
Sacramone on cover (March 2005)
"A Model Gymnast" - Worley profile (November 2004)
"Coming On Strong" - Sacramone profile (June/July 2004)
Liukin on cover (June/July 2003)
"An Unstoppable Force" - Liukin profile (November 2002)

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

Written by John Crumlish    Wednesday, 22 August 2007 10:32    PDF Print
Dutch Name Women's Team For Worlds
(1 vote, average 5.00 out of 5)

Veteran Verona van de Leur is among seven women who have been named to the Dutch team for the World Championships, Sept. 1-9 in Stuttgart.

Verona van de Leur

Joining the 21-year-old van de Leur in Stuttgart will be Lichelle Wong, Anne Tritten, Marrit Ewald, Petra Witjes, Sanne Wevers and alternate Loes Linders.

Van de Leur placed ninth all-around at the 2001 Worlds in Ghent, ninth all-around at the 2007 European Championships in Amsterdam, and first all-around at the 2007 Dutch Championships.

Wong was 17th all-around at the 2007 Europeans, and second all-around at the 2007 Dutch Championships.

Tritten and Ewald won the silver medal as a team (together with junior Wyomi Masela) at this summer's European Youth Olympic Festival in Belgrade, behind gold medal-winning team Ukraine. Ewald also placed first all-around at the 2007 Dutch Junior Championships.

Witjes and Wevers placed sixth and seventh all-around, respectively, at the 2007 Dutch Championships.

Linders was an all-around finalist at the 2005 Worlds in Melbourne, and the top Dutch all-arounder (40th in preliminaries) at the 2006 Worlds, held in Aarhus, Denmark.

The Dutch women placed 15th in team competition at the 2006 Worlds. The top 12 teams in Stuttgart will qualify for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

Absent from the team are Tahnee Masela, the 2007 Dutch all-around bronze medalist and Dutch champion on uneven bars; and Berber van den Berg, who placed fourth all-around and first on vault at the 2007 Dutch Championships. Masela injured an elbow a few weeks ago, and van den Berg recently announced her retirement.

Read "Perseverance Pays Off," a profile on Wong, in the July/August 2007 issue of International Gymnast magazine.

International Gymnast Magazine Related Features
"Fame Resistant" - van de Leur cover story (May 2002)
Van de Leur on cover photo collage (August/September 2003)
"Perseverance Pays Off" - Wong profile (July/August 2007)
"Fresh Start" - Linders profile (April 2006)
"Patient and Persistent" - Masela profile (September 2006)

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

Written by Admin    Wednesday, 22 August 2007 10:29    PDF Print
Greek Teams Chosen For Stuttgart Worlds
The Greeks team for the World Championships (Sept. 1-9 in Stuttgart) include several veterans, but not 2004 Olympic rings champion Dimosthenis Tambakos.
Stefani Bisbikou

On August 22, the Greek men's and women's teams were announced, They include Vlasios Maras, Vasilis Tsolakidis, Christos Lympanovnos, Dimitris Markousis, Xenophon Kosmidis, Mihalis Doulkeridis and alternate Eleftherios Kosmidis (men); and Stefani Bisbikou (right), Viktoria Tsakalidou, Evgenia Zafiraki, Anna Orfanou, Vasiliki Georgakopoulou, Vasiliki Milloussi and alternate Despoina Grigoriadou (women).

The decision was officially announced exactly three years after the greatest achievement of Tambakos's career. He won his Olympic title in Athens on August 22, 2004.

After his victory in the Athens Games, Tambakos competed only in two major competitions (the 2005 and 2006 World Championships), but in both occasions he failed by a small margin to make the rings final.

Although Tambakos has been participating in the summer training camps without any serious injury problem, the decision to not include him on the team for the first time in over a decade was an exclusively technical decision. It was not because of him being injured or unfit.

Tambakos would have competed on only two events (rings and high bar) in Stuttgart. This would mean that almost every other gymnast on the team would compete on all six events. In case of a last-minute injury, it could have been a problem for the team to complete a total of 30 routines (five per event).

Tambakos intends to travel to Stuttgart, along with his coach Alekos Ioakimidis, as a gesture of team spirit and in order to support his teammates' efforts.

"The team has helped us in the past and now it is time for us to support it," Ioakimidis said. "Thanks to the team effort in 1999 Worlds, Dimosthenis was able to compete in the (2000) Sydney Olympics. After all, the team is above all, and everybody's wish is that we succeed in Stuttgart."

Another notable selection is that Eleftherios Kosmidis, who tied for the bronze medal on floor exercise at the 2007 European Championships, is the team alternate. His older brother, Xenophon, is among the six gymnasts who are scheduled to compete.

Maras, who won the gold medal on high bar at both the 2001 and 2002 Worlds, finished third on the event at the 2006 Worlds. Also at the 2006 Worlds, Tsolakidis placed fourth on parallel bars, and Lympanovnos placed 19th all-around.

Greek men's team head coach Dimitris Raftis (who also coaches two-time world high bar champion Maras) said the team will strive to place among the top 15 in Stuttgart, thereby earning two berths to the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. The top 12 teams in Stuttgart will earn full team berths to Beijing.

"Our realistic goal is to be in the top 18, so that we will ensure the presence of at least one Greek gymnast at Beijing," Raftis said. "However, we will fight with all strength for 15th place, although we understand that it is very difficult»."

The Greek men's best World Championships finish to date is 17th place, achieved at the 1999 and 2006 Worlds.

For the women, Bisbikou and 2000 Olympian Milloussi have the most experience in world competition. Bisbikou finished 15th all-around at both the 2004 Athens Olympic Games and the 2005 Worlds. At the 2007 Europeans, she placed 12th all-around and tied for the bronze medal on balance beam. The Greek women placed 19th in the team competition at the 2006 Worlds.

"Basically we are aiming for 16th to 18th place in the team competition, but we might have a chance to get into the top 15," said Greek women's team head coach Kostas Hatzizisis. "It will be a balanced competition for quite a few teams, and the result will depend on the condition in which each of them will be on that day."

International Gymnast Magazine Related Features
"Disappearing Act" - short Maras profile; "Facing the Future" - short Tambakos profile (January/February 2007)
"Unfinished Business" - Tambakos interview (November 2002)
"So Much So Soon" - Maras profile (February 2003)
Maras and other 2002 world champions in center poster (February 2003)
"Growing In Stature" - Bisbikou profile (December 2002)
Maras on cover photo collage (June/July 2002)

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

Written by Admin    Saturday, 18 August 2007 10:11    PDF Print
U.S. Announces World Team
USA Gymnastics announced Saturday the world team to the 2007 World Championships in Stuttgart.

New national champion David Durante will lead the men's team of Guillermo Alvarez, Sasha Artemev, Sean Golden, Jonathan Horton and Kevin Tan. The alternate is Sho Nakamori.

The women's world team is Shawn Johnson, Nastia Liukin, Alicia Sacramone, Ivana Hong, Shayla Worley, Bridget Sloan and Samantha Peszek.

At the 2006 World Championships in Aarhus, Denmark, the American women finished second to China in the team final. The American men finished 13th, their worst performance in world championships history.

Written by Amanda Turner    Saturday, 18 August 2007 10:10    PDF Print
Spring Out with ACL Tear

U.S. national team member Justin Spring has suffered an acute tear to his right anterior cruciate ligament, said a spokesperson for USA Gymnastics.

Spring was attempting a double-twisting Kasamatsu vault at the U.S. Championships in San Jose, Calif., on Thursday night. The vault was crooked in the air and he suffered an injury on landing.

Spring, who was first on high bar in San Jose, had been in contention for the U.S. men's squad to the upcoming world championships in Stuttgart, Germany.

The team is scheduled to be announced Saturday evening.


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