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Written by John Crumlish    Thursday, 08 December 2016 10:00    PDF Print
Methuen And Kinsella Ready To Break Into British Senior Ranks
(3 votes, average 4.33 out of 5)

Featured in the December 2016 issue of International Gymnast magazine, British gymnasts Maisie Methuen (left) and Alice Kinsella are determined to make their marks as first-year seniors in 2017 following their junior success in 2016.

Methuen and Kinsella placed fourth and fifth all-around, respectively, at this spring’s European Junior Championships in Bern.

“I think having to fight to even make the British team is hard,” Methuen said. “That can only make us stronger as individuals.”

Kinsella, who won two apparatus medals in Bern, said she can contribute much to the British senior team.

“I believe that, if I support and work well with my teammates, it will have a positive impact on the results,” she said.

Read “British Breakthroughs,” the complete interviews with Methuen and Kinsella, in the December 2016 issue of International Gymnast magazine. To subscribe to the print and/or digital editions, click here.

 
Written by Admin    Tuesday, 06 December 2016 09:32    PDF Print
NCAA Preview: Defending Champions Head Into 2017 With Confidence
(1 vote, average 5.00 out of 5)

International Gymnast magazine’s December issue features an eight-page cover story on the upcoming NCAA season, which the coaches of the defending women’s and men’s champions are approaching with confidence.

K.J. Kindler is the head coach of 2016 women’s champion Oklahoma, whose 2017 team will include 2015 world championships team gold medalists Maggie Nichols and Brenna Dowell.

“Our philosophy, as always, is to earn it, focus on preparation, pay attention to the details, be innovative and have fun,” Kindler said.

Two Olympic gold medalists will join the NCAA ranks in the coming season. They are Kyla Ross, a member of the gold-medal winning U.S. team at the 2012 Olympic Games and a two-time world championships all-around medalist; and Madison Kocian, a member of the gold medal-winning U.S. team at the 2016 Olympics and the 2016 Olympic silver medalist on uneven bars. Ross and Kocian will compete for UCLA.

Defending NCAA men’s champion Yul Moldauer is expected to lead the defending men’s champion Oklahoma, whose head coach, Mark Williams, said the 2017 field should be deep.

“I suspect that several teams will contend for the national championship,” Williams said.

Read IG’s complete NCAA preview, which features forecasts, quotes, photos and rosters, in the December 2016 issue of International Gymnast magazine. To subscribe to the print and/or digital editions, click here.

 
Written by Amanda Turner    Sunday, 27 November 2016 07:15    PDF Print
Aussie Olympian Skinner Suffers Broken Vertebra at Cirque Show
(1 vote, average 5.00 out of 5)



Three-time Australian Olympian Lisa Skinner suffered a frightening fall Sunday while performing with Cirque du Soleil in Brisbane, crashing 5 meters (16 feet) to the stage.

Skinner performing with the aerial hoop

Three-time Australian Olympian Lisa Skinner suffered a frightening fall Sunday afternoon while performing with Cirque du Soleil in Brisbane, crashing 6 meters (20 feet) to the stage.

Skinner, 35, was performing an aerial hoop act in the show Koozå when she slipped and fell to the stage below. She was rushed by ambulance to the hospital in a neck brace. Within a few hours, Skinner posted on social media that despite some injuries, she was expecting to make a full recovery. On Monday, it was reported that Skinner had suffered a fracture to her C1 vertebra and a broken arm.

Skinner's mother, Anne, told a Queensland radio station on Monday that her daughter was lucky after landing on her head.

"Today she is going to be fitted with what they call a halo brace to keep her head still... it will take about 6-12 weeks to heal," she said. "Her arms and legs work, which is the main thing, and she survived. She should recover but it will just be a long, hard road at this point."

The show resumed after Skinner's fall, though all audience members were required to remain seated until paramedics had taken the injured acrobat from the stage, per Cirque rules. Jessica Levoeuf from Cirque du Soleil said the circus prepares for accidents.

"It's something that we actually rehearse for different scenarios every single week at Cirque du Solei," Levoef said. "The safety and security of our artists and our patrons as well is always the number one concern. Our first response team reacted very quickly and the performer is responsive, is safe and is under great medical care at the moment."

Lauded for her beautiful lines and artistry, Skinner competed at the 1996, 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games. At the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, she placed eighth in the all-around and on floor exercise, the first Australian gymnast to ever reach an Olympic apparatus final. After a brief retirement, she returned to gymnastics in 2002. In 2003, she was a member of the Australian women's squad that won a historic bronze medal at the world championships in Anaheim, the first and only world team medal for Australia to date.

Additionally, Skinner was a two-time Commonwealth Games champion, winning gold with the Australian team and on uneven bars at the 1998 Games in Kuala Lumpur.

Skinner joined Cirque du Soleil in 2006, and performed in Alegría and Quidam. She only recently joined Koozå as it toured her native Queensland.

Despite the spectacular risks and acrobatics on display at Cirque du Soleil, serious accidents are rare. In 2007, Bulgarian Maia Tabakova, a world and Olympic medalist in rhythmic gymnastic, fell 10 meters (35 feet) while performing an aerial act in Las Vegas. In critical condition after her fall, Tabakova eventually made a full recovery and returned to performing until 2014. She is now a co-owner and coach at Nevada Rhythmic Academy in Las Vegas.

Cirque du Soleil, which was founded in 1984, has had two performer fatalities. In 2009, Ukrainian acrobat Oleksandr Zhurov was killed during training in a trampoline accident. In 2013, French acrobat and aerialist Sarah Guyard-Guillot was killed during a performance of in Las Vegas, when her harness reportedly slipped off its safety wire, and she fell at least 15 meters (50 feet).

This article has been updated with additional information on Skinner's injuries.

 
Written by Amanda Turner    Wednesday, 23 November 2016 05:01    PDF Print
Hernandez, Chmerkovskiy Win 'DWTS'
(5 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)



U.S. Olympian Laurie Hernandez capped off her golden 2016 on Tuesday night, winning the finale of season 23 of Dancing With the Stars with partner Val Chmerkovskiy.

U.S. Olympian Laurie Hernandez capped off her golden 2016 with another trophy on Tuesday night, winning the finale of season 23 of Dancing With the Stars with partner Val Chmerkovskiy.

Hernandez, who turned 16 in June, is the youngest-ever winner of the reality dance competition, and the second gymnast to take home the mirror ball trophy following Shawn Johnson's win in 2008.

Hernandez and Chmerkovskiy had been favorites for the title, earning three perfect scores prior to the Tuesday night's grand finale. Clad in golden costumes for their Foxtrot-Argentine tango fusion on Tuesday, they didn't disappoint, earning another perfect score of 40.0. The pair topped race car driver James Hinchcliffe and professional partner Sharna Burgess. Former Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson and his partner Lindsay Arnold finished third.

Hernandez has had a break-out year in 2016. Long appreciated in gymnastics for her artistry and expression, the fan favorite gained wider fame this summer. In her first year as a senior, she helped the U.S. women win the team gold medal at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, and captured an individual silver on balance beam. She balanced her stint on Dancing With the Stars with the cross-country post-Olympic tour that began in September.

Following her win on Tuesday, Hernandez said it was difficult to compare her medals in Rio and DWTS title.

"The Olympics, as a little kid, it was such a big goal that I created for myself and I was able to push through and make that happen," she said. "I’ve always loved to dance and my passion was dancing as well as gymnastics, so winning the mirrorball (trophy) today was insane and amazing."

Chmerkovskiy, who previously won the 20th season of DWTS with actress Rumer Willis, said Hernandez is an inspiration.

"I wanted to set an example through her, for her generation that anything is possible," he said. "To stay hungry, to stay humble, she's a testament to that."

Hernandez, who trains at MG Elite in New Jersey, said her aim is to do exactly that.

"I do want to inspire others," she said. "When I was a little kid, I looked up to other people, so I hope I can inspire little kids."

It remains to be seen whether or not Hernandez will be back in competition in time for next year's world championships in Montreal. After her win, it was announced that Hernandez would be joining Chmerkovskiy and others on the Dancing With the Stars national tour this winter.

Hernandez is the fifth Olympian to win the coveted Mirror Ball trophy after Johnson, speedskater Apolo Ohno, figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi and ice dancer Meryl Davis.

Read an exclusive interview with Laurie Hernandez in the November 2016 issue of International Gymnast Magazine. To order back issues, or subscribe to the print and/or digital edition of International Gymnast magazine, click here.

 
Written by dwight normile    Monday, 21 November 2016 09:33    PDF Print
FIG President-Elect Morinari Watanabe Has Innovative Plans
(4 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

The December 2016 issue of International Gymnast features an interview with Morinari Watanabe, who will succeed FIG President Bruno Grandi on Jan. 1, 2017. A former gymnast in high school and college, the humble Watanabe, 57, also served as Executive Director and Secretary General of the Japan Gymnastics Association. In his interview he openly discusses several topics, including his plan to grow gymnastics, a 24-hour Gymnastics Channel and even his Samurai upbringing.

Following are excerpts:

On how to improve the popularity of gymnastics…

"Currently, competitions are best for those who know and follow gymnastics. To those who are not familiar with gymnastics, it is hard to understand what is excellent in gymnastics or why those scores are given. In such circumstances, the number of fans will not increase. I will transform a gymnastics competition into one that is easy to understand and exciting for everybody. That is to say, to evolve the competition from one for gymnastics fans to the one that generates gymnastics fans."

On the 2020 Olympics featuring 4-member teams…

"I understand that the reason why the number of gymnasts on a team at the Olympics will change from 5 to 4 is because of the opinion that as many federations as possible should take part in the Olympics. It is impossible to argue with this. The most important thing is to develop gymnastics in the world. I myself am aware that there is something in the new Olympic qualification system that is not clear enough."

On how long he envisions remaining as FIG President…

"I would like to devote myself with utmost effort for the world gymnastics family every single day. When the gymnastics family thinks that they don’t need me anymore, it will be time for me to end my term. How long I remain as FIG President is not decided by myself. It’s a matter all of you decide."

To subscribe to International Gymnast, which celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, click here.

 


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