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Written by John Crumlish    Wednesday, 11 March 2015 22:52    PDF Print
Vaculik: 'I've Been the Luckiest Person In The World'
(5 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

2012 Canadian Olympian and Stanford University senior Kristina Vaculik told IG she is already reflecting with pride and pleasure as her gymnastics career comes to a close this spring.


Kristina Vaculik (Canada) on beam for Stanford University

"Looking back and realizing all I've done, I've been seriously the luckiest person in the world," said Vaculik, who is preparing for the upcoming conference, regional and national collegiate championships. "I've had the chance to experience both international and college gymnastics. Both experiences have been amazing for me."

Coached by 1980 Olympic all-around champion Yelena Davydova at Gemini Gymnastics Club in Oshawa, Vaculik won the Canadian national all-around title in 2007, 2010 and 2012. She enrolled at Stanford in 2011, but took the 2012 season off to train at home for the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

At the London Games, Vaculik helped Canada finish fifth in the team final, its best team result in Olympic history. She returned to Stanford following the Games and resumed her collegiate gymnastics career.

Vaculik credits her successful transitions to the cooperation of her club and university coaches.

"I've been so lucky to have the support from my coaches at home, and support from my Stanford coaches with my international and college goals," she said. "I'm glad for their support in developing me as a person, and helping me reach for other goals, and academically, too."

Vaculik said she is enjoying her final season of competition, which was delayed by a bout with mononucleosis.

"I went home for Christmas with my family, and came back and was diagnosed," she said. "I was supposed to be out for three weeks, as a precaution, and then work my way back. But I couldn't do anything. I couldn't raise my heart rate at all. That was a little tough. I guess I was just lucky, and my immune system was able to fight it off pretty quickly."

Vaculik, who will graduate with a degree in human biology this spring, is eager to begin her life outside the gym.

"I'm excited because I know that, when I graduate from Stanford, I have something else to look forward to," she said. "I'll be applying to medical school, finding new passions and following those. It's going to be really sad to leave gymnastics, but I'll always love and follow it."

Vaculik has a particularly personal reason to keep tabs on the sport, especially collegiate gymnastics. Her younger sister, Canadian national team member Natalie Vaculik, competes for the University of Georgia.

"It's so exciting to watch my sister do it, too, because it's her freshman year and she's having an amazing time," Vaculik said of Natalie. "She's doing so well, and it's exciting to see her go through that and relive those moments with her."

Vaculik is more cheerful than nostalgic as she draws near the end of her own competitive years.

"Looking back it's incredible what I've been able to experience, and I'm so thankful to everyone who's helped me along the way," she told IG. "I'm just so thankful for everything I've done."

International Magazine's coverage of Kristina Vaculik includes:
"Veteran Presence" – Vaculik profile (July/August 2010)
Vaculik cover photo (April 2010)
"Canadian Conquerors" – Vaculik profile (September 2007)

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

 
Written by Amanda Turner    Sunday, 08 March 2015 23:43    PDF Print
Kharenkova, Belyavsky Golden Again in Penza
(8 votes, average 3.50 out of 5)



All-around champions Maria Kharenkova and David Belyavsky each took one title in the event finals at the 2015 Russian Gymnastics Championships, held Saturday and Sunday in Penza. Pictured: Women's floor exercise champion Ksenia Afanasyeva.

All-around champions Maria Kharenkova (Khimki) and David Belyavsky (Yekaterinburg) each took one title in the event finals at the 2015 Russian Gymnastics Championships, held Saturday and Sunday in Penza.

Kharenkova won balance beam, her best event (14.533/6.6 Difficulty). She did not perform as cleanly as she had in the all-around (15.367/6.8), showing several wobbles and shaky connections, but still took the title (punch front to split jump; ff, ff, two-foot layout; front aerial to sheep; side aerial, switch leap, back tuck; full turn with leg up to full turn; ff, ff, double pike).

Olympic Youth Games champion Seda Tutkhalyan (Moscow) took second (14.200) despite a fall on her opening roundoff, layout. She managed to stay on the apparatus on her roundoff, layout full twist, for a 6.6 D-score.

On women's vault, Alla Sotsnitskaya edged her Moscow teammate Maria Paseka, 14.800-14.767. Both gymnasts competed Cheng Fei and double-twisting vaults.

World bronze medalist Daria Spiridonova brought Moscow another title on uneven bars (15.033/6.7D), with a solid routine featuring an aggressive opening combination of inside-Stalder, inside-Stalder-full to Komova II (inside-Stalder to Shaposhnikova) to Pak to Maloney-half; followed by a piked Jaeger; toe-full to full-twisting double (low landing).

Two-time Olympian Ksenia Afanasyeva (Tula) was golden on floor exercise with the top women's score of finals, showing off her noted beautiful presentation. Afanasyeva, who had missed much of 2014 with chronic ankle injury, looked fully recovered, tumbling a double layout; two whips to triple twist; 2 1/2 to layout front; and double pike dismount.

In the men's competition, Penza's own star Denis Ablyazin won three gold medals on his specialities, although Olympic Youth Games gold medalist Nikita Nagorny (Rostov-on-Don) managed to tie Ablyazin for the titles both floor exercise and vault.

Pommel horse specialist Andrei Perevoznikov (Korolyov) won his best event, while Belyavsky was once again untouchable on parallel bars.

Ukrainian native Nikolai Kuksenkov (Vladimir), second all-around, on still rings and parallel bars, ended the competition with an individual gold on high bar.

Read "Tall Order," an in-depth interview with Alla Sosnitskaya, in the March 2015 issue of International Gymnast magazine. To subscribe to the print and/or digital editions of IG magazine, click here.

External Link: Russian Gymnastics Federation

2015 Russian Gymnastics Championships
March 7-8, Penza

Women's Vault FinalDENDScoreAverage
1.Alla SosnitskayaMoscow6.48.73314.83314.800
5.88.96714.767
2.Maria PasekaMoscow6.47.66713.96714.367
5.88.96714.767
3.Seda TutkhalyanMoscow5.88.76714.56713.867
5.08.16713.167
4.Ksenia AfanasyevaKhimki/Tula5.88.53314.23313.700
5.67.66713.167
5.Kristina KruglikovaVladimir5.08.66713.56713.550
4.88.73313.533
6.Anastasia DmitrievaTogliatti5.28.70013.90013.234
5.37.56712.567
7.Anna VanyushkinaVeliky Novgorod5.07.73312.73313.033
4.68.83313.333
8.Yulia BiryulyaKemerovo5.08.56713.56712.000
2.48.03310.433

Uneven Bars FinalDENDScore
1.Daria SpiridonovaMoscow6.78.33315.033
2.Yekaterina KramarenkoSaint Petersburg6.08.60014.600
3.Maria PasekaMoscow5.98.66714.567
4.Maria KharenkovaRostov-on-Don/Moscow/Khimki6.08.53314.533
5.Viktoria KomovaVoronezh/Moscow6.17.50013.600
6.Seda TutkhalyanMoscow5.87.70013.500
7.Yevgenia ShelgunovaKhimki/Alatyr5.97.46713.367
8.Maria BondarevaFryazino5.86.60012.400

Balance Beam FinalDENDScore
1.Maria KharenkovaRostov-on-Don/Moscow/Khimki6.68.03314.533
2.Daria SpiridonovaMoscow5.98.33314.233
3.Seda TutkhalyanMoscow6.67.60014.200
4.Kristina GoryunovaVeliky Novgorod5.68.43314.033
5.Viktoria KomovaVoronezh/Moscow5.97.73313.633
6.Polina FedorovaCheboksary5.77.86713.467
7.Daria YelizarovaTula5.77.40013.000
8.Alla SosnitskayaMoscow5.17.20012.300

Women's Floor Exercise FinalDENDScore
1.Ksenia AfanasyevaKhimki/Tula6.48.73315.133
2.Yevgenia ShelgunovaKhimki/Alatyr5.98.13314.033
3.Maria KharenkovaRostov-on-Don/Moscow/Khimki6.08.26713.967
4.Anastasia DmitrievaTogliatti5.48.70013.800
5.Anastasia CheongSaint Petersburg5.48.00013.400
6.Seda TutkhalyanMoscow5.57.73313.133
7.Alla SosnitskayaMoscow5.77.56712.867
8.Maria BondarevaFryazino4.58.20012.400

Men's Floor Exercise FinalDENDScore
1.Denis AblyazinPenza/Moscow7.18.43315.233
1.Nikita NagornyRostov-on-Don/Moscow6.98.33315.233
3.Artur DalaloyanMoscow6.68.53315.133
4.David BelyavskyYekaterinburg/Izhevsk6.48.70014.700
5.Nikita IgnatyevLeninsk-Kuznetsky6.18.03314.133
6.Alexei BykovRostov-on-Don/Moscow6.17.96714.067
6.Ivan StretovichNovosibirsk6.17.96714.067
8.Mikhail KudashovChelyabinsk/Vladimir5.07.46712.467

Pommel Horse FinalDENDScore
1.Andrei PerevoznikovKorolyov6.67.90014.500
2.Matvei PetrovKaliningrad6.57.70014.200
2.David BelyavskyYekaterinburg/Izhevsk6.67.60014.200
4.Vilyam KatynSaransk5.97.93313.833
5.Nikolai KuksenkovVladimir6.36.96713.267
6.Sergei StepanovCheboksary/Penza5.37.36712.667
7.Vladislav PolyashovCheboksary6.06.30012.300
8.Mikhail KudashovChelyabinsk/Vladimir4.27.63311.833

Still Rings FinalDENDScore
1.Denis AblyazinPenza/Moscow6.88.60015.400
2.Nikolai KuksenkovVladimir6.38.60014.900
3.Matvei PetrovKaliningrad6.38.30014.600
4.Daniil KazachkovNovosibirsk/Penza6.58.03314.533
5.Nikita IgnatyevLeninsk-Kuznetsky5.98.30014.200
5.Pavel PavlovPenza6.18.10014.200
7.Maxim KhodykinSmolensk/Petrozavodsk5.98.13314.033

Men's Vault FinalDENDScoreAverage
1.Denis AblyazinPenza/Moscow6.48.86714.96714.717
6.28.26714.467
1.Nikita NagornyRostov-on-Don/Moscow6.08.96714.86714.717
5.68.96714.567
3.Konstantin KuzovkovKorolyov5.68.96714.46714.234
5.28.90014.000
4.Roman SuyetinNizhny Tagil/Yekaterinburg6.07.73313.73314.117
5.69.00014.500
5.Mikhail KudashovChelyabinsk/Vladimir6.07.76713.76713.850
6.08.23313.933
6.Artur DalaloyanMoscow5.68.43313.93313.733
5.68.03313.533
7.Artom PleshkinSaransk5.67.73313.23313.250
4.48.86713.267
8.Ilya ZakrevskyYekaterinburg5.67.36712.86712.417
4.47.66711.967

Parallel Bars FinalDENDScore
1.David BelyavskyYekaterinburg/Izhevsk6.98.56715.467
2.Nikolai KuksenkovVladimir6.27.30013.500
3.Nikita NagornyRostov-on-Don/Moscow6.07.36713.367
3.Roman SuyetinNizhny Tagil/Yekaterinburg6.37.06713.367
5.Pavel PavlovPenza5.87.33313.133
6.Grigory ZyryanovKemerovo/Novosibirsk5.67.46713.067
7.Vladislav PolyashovCheboksary6.16.00012.100
8.Dmitry KharkovPenza3.85.3674.05.167

High Bar FinalDENDScore
1.Nikolai KuksenkovVladimir7.08.13315.133
2.Nikita IgnatyevLeninsk-Kuznetsky6.58.36714.867
3.Nikita NagornyRostov-on-Don/Moscow5.98.30014.200
4.Roman SuyetinNizhny Tagil/Yekaterinburg5.98.23314.133
5.Vladislav PolyashovCheboksary5.98.20014.100
6.Andrei CherkasovLeninsk-Kuznetsky/Novosibirsk6.07.40013.400
7.David BelyavskyYekaterinburg/Izhevsk5.77.06712.767
8.Daniil KazachkovNovosibirsk/Penza5.36.03311.333
 
Written by John Crumlish    Saturday, 28 February 2015 14:52    PDF Print
McKayla Maroney: 'I'm Feeling Great'
(16 votes, average 4.69 out of 5)



Olympic gold and silver medalist McKayla Maroney of the U.S. told IG she is eager to return to competition following a long bout with adrenal fatigue.

"I'm really, really excited for this year and coming back, just because I'm now healed,” said Maroney at last weekend’s All Olympia Invitational that her team hosted at Los Angeles Convention Center.

Maroney last competed at the 2013 World Championships, where she won a second world vault title. She underwent knee surgery in March 2014 and missed the rest of the season, but is training again full time.

"I haven't felt like this in a long time. I’m feeling great," she said.

Read more on Maroney’s health condition and comeback in the April issue of International Gymnast magazine. Other IG magazine coverage of Maroney includes:
"All-Around Commitment" – Maroney interview (March 2014)
2013 World Championships special issue (November 2013)
2013 U.S. Championships coverage (September 2013)
"Maroney on the Mend" – interview (January/February 2013)
2012 Olympic Games special issue (September 2012)
2012 U.S. Olympic Trials coverage, 2012 Olympics preview (July/August 2012)
2011 World Championships special issue (December 2011)
2011 U.S. Championships coverage (September 2011)
"It's Showtime for Maroney" – Maroney profile (May 2011)
Maroney on cover photo collage, 2010 U.S. Championships coverage (September 2010)

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

 
Written by John Crumlish    Monday, 23 February 2015 13:44    PDF Print
Biles Eager to Kick Off Competition Year At American Cup
(9 votes, average 4.56 out of 5)

Two-time world all-around champion Simone Biles of the U.S. told IG she looks forward to testing some upgrades when she competes at the American Cup in her home state of Texas on March 7.


Simone Biles (USA)

"My plan is to start off the year with a good meet, showing good, clean confidence," said Biles, who placed first all-around at the 2013 and 2014 world championships. "I want to try and put in a few upgrades, and see how they work out and how they score."

Biles said she does not feel much more pressure because the Cup will be taking place in her home state.

"It’s more of a fun factor," said Biles, who trains under coach Aimee Boorman at World Champions Centre in Spring, Texas. "I’m so excited to compete in my home state and in the Dallas Cowboys Arena (in Arlington). We have about 160 people that my family know and from my gym that are coming, so it’s going to be really exciting. It’s a lit bit of pressure but I’m sure it will be OK."

Biles said the American Cup will give her the chance to launch a busy competition year which includes the U.S. championships in Indianapolis in August, and the world championships in Glasgow, Scotland, from Oct. 23-Nov. 1.

"I think it’s a good start to the season and a good kick-off," she told IG. ‘It helps you see where you’re at and what you can do, and how you score. I just want to have fun with it. I think it’s a really good thing to start the year off with.’

Read more on Simone Biles in the March 2015 issue of International Gymnast magazine. She is also featured in the following issues:

Biles cover photo, 2014 World Championships special issue (November 2014)
Biles cover photo, 2014 Worlds preview (October 2014)
Biles cover photo, 2014 U.S. Championships coverage (September 2014)
"Transition Year: - coach Aimee Boorman/Simone Biles profile (July/August 2014)
Biles cover photo, 2013 U.S. Championships coverage (September 2013)
Biles interview (April 2013)

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

 
Written by dwight normile    Wednesday, 18 February 2015 08:43    PDF Print
March IG to Feature Kohei Uchimura
(7 votes, average 4.43 out of 5)

IG recently secured an exclusive interview with Kohei Uchimura, who has strung together every major all-around title since 2009. Our feature on him, called "The Savior," appears in the March IG, which mails next week. Within the story, we did some math using his scores from the all-around finals during his six-year reign, and they are astounding. His average event score was 15.392. His average all-around total was 92.351. Besides vault, where virtually every all-arounder scores high, his best apparatus average was on floor exercise, with 15.530. His 'worst' was pommel horse: 15.105. So in that sense, he's like many other all-arounders. Just a lot better.

By now, most fans have seen Uchimura's floor exercise during the 2014 world all-around final. He stuck every landing, never appeared to break form, and even congratulated himself afterward with a fist pump. He knows how hard it is to do what he did. His 15.766 was the top floor score that day, as was his 9.166 E-score. It's that 9.166, however, that had most people scratching their head. Cut and paste that routine into the 1988 Olympics and it gets a 10.0, or maybe a 9.9 from the stingy judge. Here are some of the YouTube comments below that video.

How can you ever deduct this routine? … Really, judges, with all due respect, could you please explain those .8 in deductions? … That’s the cleanest floor routine I’ve seen in my life. … Absolute perfection.

We asked Uchimura about that 9.166, and this was his response: "I was not surprised. I think that I had some problems in my routine."

Was he just being politically correct? Even in slow motion that routine looked perfect. Which begs the question, What's the point of starting the execution score from 10 if achieving a 9.0 is almost impossible?

Regardless, Uchimura probably contradicted himself, at least a little, when we asked for his opinion about the current Code of Points.

"I think that the good point in the Code is finding new skills and combinations. However, I would like to get higher E-scores for beauty and elegance."

Was not his floor routine both beautiful and elegant? It may have been the best competitive men's floor exercise performance in history when you consider the level of difficulty these guys have to perform.

Uchimura opens up about several other issues in this story: fatherhood, frustrations and the best advice he ever received.

Also included in the March IG: Jessica Lopez profile; Alla Sosnitskaya interview; 10 Questions With Stella Umeh (prepare to be inspired!); 10 Things to Like About Simone Biles; a tribute to long-time photographer Jeff Sipsey; and much more.

 


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