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Written by John Crumlish    Saturday, 25 July 2015 21:38    PDF Print
With Every Vault, Robertsdottir Jumps Closer to Finals
(3 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

Iceland's Norma Robertsdottir landed on familiar ground when she vaulted during the team final and individual qualifications at last month's European Games in Baku.

Norma Robertsdottir (Iceland)

Robertsdottir's score earned her the spot as first reserve for the vault apparatus final.

The 19-year-old Robertsdottir was also first reserve for the vault final at the European championships in Montpellier, France, in April. She was third reserve for the vault final at the 2014 Europeans in Moscow.

Although Iceland placed 19th out of 25 in the Games team final, Robertsdottir said her individual strides in major continental events such as Baku are landmark achievements for the sport in her country.

"If we made any finals here, it would be very big for gymnastics in Iceland," Robertsdottir said.

Earlier in June, Robertsdottir won vault and balance beam at the Games of the Small States of Europe in Armann, Iceland, where the Icelandic women captured all six available golds.

Robertsdottir said that, although the Baku field was much tougher than the field in Armann, her team's international success is relative and progressive.

"The Small States competition pushed us very far," Robertsdottir said. "I think we have to start there and try to make more finals at bigger competitions."

IG's John Crumlish was a Games News Service reporter at the 2015 European Games in Baku. Read on-scene coverage of the Games in the July/August 2015 issue of International Gymnast magazine. To subscribe to the digital and/or print editions, click here.

Next up in the series: Jasmin Mader gladly assumes leadership role for Austrian team in Baku.

Written by John Crumlish    Wednesday, 22 July 2015 12:16    PDF Print
Poland's Kulesza Bears Mark of Success
(3 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

Polish Olympian Roman Kulesza and gymnastics have made indelible impressions on each other. Kulesza’s torso, tattooed with a description and figural illustration of his signature skill on high bar (Tkatchev, half turn, regrasp in elgrip), bears the permanent mark of his contribution to the sport.

In 2014, Kulesza had a gymnastics-familiar tattoo artist ink it on his skin, guided by a PDF of his skill that he captured from the Code of Points.

The tattooing process was "not really" painful to Kulesza, although the actual skill could be if timed incorrectly.

"You need to rotate so much to see the bar, and you catch directly back to the bar," said Kulesza, whose wife, Marta Pihan-Kulesza, competed with him at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. "It's dangerous."

Although the 32-year-old Kulesza considered retiring after the London Games, he is happy that gymnastics continues to impact his life, and vice versa.

"Gymnastics is fun," he said. "I love it, and if I can do it at a competition like this, it's always amazing."

IG’s John Crumlish was a Games News Service reporter at the 2015 European Games in Baku. Read on-scene coverage of the Games in the July/August 2015 issue of International Gymnast magazine. To subscribe to the print and/or digital editions, click here.

Next in the series: Iceland’s Norma Robertsdottir says her country’s small steps mean big strides.

Written by John Crumlish    Sunday, 19 July 2015 05:07    PDF Print
Backstage in Baku: 'I Can Do Better,' Seitz Says
(6 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

Enjoy the first in a series of IG Online features about last month's European Games in Baku, where IG's John Crumlish was a reporter for the Games News Service.

Although German veteran Elisabeth Seitz did not advance to any finals in Baku, she is confident she can consolidate and improve her performances at the world championships in Glasgow in October.

"I'll have a little rest before the world championships, and then I can show that I can do better, because I didn't do everything I can do," said the 21-year-old Seitz, who placed 18th all-around in qualifications. "Normally I can do a double twist on vault, and my first pass on floor is a full-in. So I had lower D-scores here. I also have some potential skills on bars. I hope it works by the world championships."

In Baku, Seitz and teammate Sophie Scheder shared the second-highest score of the field on uneven bars in qualifications. Only one gymnast per country could advance to finals, so Scheder moved on because she had a higher Execution score.

Seitz said the German team's silver medal-winning performance in Baku reflected errors that can be eliminated. Two of the three German gymnasts fell off balance beam in the team final, which also served as individual qualifications. Seitz, the anchor, dropped off the apparatus after a flip-flop-whip combination and again on a double turn.

"It's not easy to say," said Seitz of the mistakes. "Of course we were nervous, as always. We know we can do better, but we fell. It just didn't work. It was not because of the training. We know we can do it. Falling can happen but it shouldn't." Seitz said that, despite Germany's beam problems in Baku, her team's prospects for Glasgow are promising.

"I think we have much potential," she said. "We have a great team. We have good routines and we have good gymnasts. For the world championships, we know we have a lot of potential and we have more good gymnasts at home."

Read on-scene coverage of the Games in the July/August 2015 issue of International Gymnast magazine. To subscribe to the print and/or digital editions, click here.

Next up in the series: Poland's Roman Kulesza leaves his mark on gymnastics, and vice versa

Written by John Crumlish    Friday, 10 July 2015 20:32    PDF Print
Morgan Aims To 'Bring Home Some Hardware' at Pan Am Games
(2 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

On the eve of the Pan American Games in Toronto, Canadian gymnast Scott Morgan told IG he is hopeful for at least a team medal as the men's competition begins Saturday.

On the eve of the Pan American Games in Toronto, Canadian gymnast Scott Morgan told IG he is hopeful for at least a team medal as the men's competition begins Saturday.

"With next year's Olympics in South America, the competition at these Games has increased dramatically," Morgan said. "After podium training, we feel like a team medal is possible, even after some last-minute injuries and team changes. What color, we're not sure, but it's going to be close."

Morgan did not attend Friday's opening ceremony since the men's competition begins Saturday, but he said he and his teammates are ready to challenge the U.S. and other teams for a top-three finish.

"Although the U.S. team had a tough podium training, it looks like they were using all their opportunities to get familiar with the equipment and podium," Morgan said. "With their international and NCAA experience, it will be an exciting and tough comp for sure. I think we're all eager to see how everyone places. Podium training went really well for us and our team is feeling ready."

Morgan said he is eager to better his results from the 2011 Games in Guadalajara, where he placed fourth on floor exercise and fifth on vault.

"It's certainly exciting to compete at my second Pan Am Games, on home soil and with more international experience," he said. "The goal at this Games would be to qualify for finals on floor, vault and rings, with the hopes of bringing home some hardware."

Morgan is already excited by the pre-competition atmosphere at the Games.

"It's been great so far," he told IG. "Canada is whipping out all the stops."

International Gymnast magazine's recent coverage of Canadian gymnasts includes:

"Aiming to Top the Charts" - Maegan Chant interview (October 2013)
"Canadian Promise" - Ellie Black chat and Robert Watson profile (July/August 2014)
"Canadian Diversity" - Ellie Black profile (July/August 2013)
"Black to Business" - Ellie Black interview (November 2012)
"Candid Canadians" - Madeline Gardiner and Jackson Payne interviews (September 2011)
Chat with Christine Peng-Peng Lee (April 2015)
Christine Peng-Peng Lee interview (April 2011)
Gael Mackie profile (July/August 2011)
"Sudden Impact" - Victoria Moors interview (January/February 2013)
"Making Tracks" - Scott Morgan profile (December 2013)
Isabela Onyshko profile (July/August 2014)
Megan Roberts profile (April 2015)
"Confident Canadian" - Brittany Rogers interview (May 2012)
"Canadian Diversity" - Hugh Smith profile (July/August 2013)
"Catching up with... Lori Strong Ballard" (June 2012)
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 dwight normile    Friday, 10 July 2015 13:53    PDF Print
Montreal Gets First 'Olympic House'
(2 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

Thousands of people gathered in Montreal on July 9 for the Future Olympians Festival, an event that celebrated the opening of the first "Olympic House."

More than 200 Olympians joined the gathered guests to watch the lighting of the Olympic rings atop the building at 500 René-Lévesque Blvd. Images of past Olympic memories were projected onto the high-rise, which will become the new headquarters for the the Canadian Olympic Committee.

Nadia Comaneci, revered in Montreal because of the seven perfect 10.0s she scored there in 1976, was on hand for the festivities, as was her husband, Bart Conner. Other Olympians present included diver Greg Louganis and figure skater Katarina Witt. Also present were International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach and Canadian Olympic Committee President Marcel Aubut.

One of the goals of the Olympic House project is to create an environment in which youngsters can be exposed to Olympic sports and its history. Attendees at the festival in Montreal had the opportunity to join Olympians in sports such as boxing, fencing, gymnastics and volleyball, all of which were set up on inflatable platforms.

The Canadian Olympic Committee will occupy the first two floors of the Olympic House, and the site will also become an Olympic museum that will include several interactive sports stations for public use.


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