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Written by dwight normile    Sunday, 22 May 2016 09:48    PDF Print
20th Annual Induction Ceremony Is History
(5 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

The 20th annual induction ceremony for the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame added another vital chapter in preserving gymnastics history. And for the first time in a few years, the event, held in Oklahoma City on May 21, enjoyed sunny skies instead of tornado threats.

Emcee Bart Conner inducted four legendary gymnasts in the following order: Aurelia Dobre (Romania), Igor Korobchinsky (Ukraine), Jordan Jovtchev (Bulgaria) and Tatiana Lysenko (Ukraine).

Dobre, the first Romanian to win the world all-around title (1987), gave a wonderful acceptance speech. "I am very humbled and honored to be here tonight," she said, before mentioning all of the people that had supported her as a young gymnast, including her parents. "Nadia was also a great inspiration to me."

She and her husband, Fariborz Mofid, have four boys, the oldest a recent graduate from Iowa, where he competed on the gymnastics team. They also run Dobre Gymnastics Academy in Gaithersburg, Md. "Gymnastics has affected me in so many positive ways," Dobre said in closing. And it's a sure bet that her elegant gymnastics inspired a whole generation of kids around the world.

Korobchinsky took the podium with the confidence he displayed as the 1989 all-around world champion. He began by revealing his start as a gymnast. "I saw (Nikolai) Andrianov (Hall of Fame Class of 2001) on high bar, and I said to my mom, 'I want to be like Andrianov.'" Had the Berlin Wall not come down just weeks after his amazing all-around victory in Stuttgart, Germany, Korobchinsky might have matched Andrianov's accomplishments. But as the Soviet Union dissolved into separate republics, and government funding for sports began to disappear, Korobchinsky forged on and eventually competed for his native Ukraine. "I am proud to be here (at the Hall of Fame dinner), because it's the best of the best of gymnastics." Korobchinsky, who now lives in Houston with his wife and two daughters, certainly fits right in.

Jovtchev, the only six-time Olympian in men's gymnastics, was always a man of few words; he let his gymnastics speak for itself. But his brief acceptance speech came straight from the heart. He began by saying he thought he was through with gymnastics after the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, when he and two teammates decided to stay in the U.S. to find a better life. He ended up moving to Norman, Okla., and working at the Bart Conner Gymnastics Academy, where his career experienced a jump start that including four more Olympic Games. He specifically thanked his wife, Boriana, for all of the sacrifices she made along the way. "How thankful and proud I am tonight," said Jovtchev, the second Bulgarian to be inducted, after Stoyan Deltchev.

Lysenko provided a magnanimous close to the evening with a speech that was as complete as one of her routines. She began by wondering why Bart Conner (IGHOF Chairman of the Board) had called her in the first place. "This was the last thing I expected," she said of her induction. She marveled at "seeing my life unfold" during the video collage of her career, which was shown on large screens for all of the inductees. "I had to pause a minute to digest it."

Lysenko credited her coach, Oleg Ostapenko, for her success, and thanked everyone involved in the sport, even the officials. "Some of you have judged me," she began, looking in the direction of Jackie Fie, a former international judge. "Thank you for your generosity [laughter]." But then she got serious again. "What a big deal this is … I still feel in awe."

Prior to the the induction of the four athletes, the 1996 women's Olympic team was recognized for winning the first team gold for the U.S. in the Olympics. Five of the Magnificent 7 were in attendance: Jaycie Phelps, Amanda Borden, Amy Chow, Dominique Moceanu and Shannon Miller. Absent were Dominique Dawes and Kerri Strug, who had other commitments. Sports Illustrated Senior writer Greg Bishop was on hand taking notes, and said there will be an eight-page feature on that memorable team.

Bill Sorenson, who founded American Athletic, Inc., was the recipient of the Frank Bare Award, which last year went to Abie Grossfeld. After his video was shown, with photos of his one-room school in Iowa (which had an average of nine students) to the large Olympic arenas filled with AAI equipment, Sorenson was visibly moved. "You know how to bring tears to my eyes," he said, before sharing his honor. "I accept it on behalf of the employees."

Read complete coverage of the 20th Hall of Fame induction, along with interviews of each inductee, in the June issue of International Gymnast.

Written by dwight normile    Friday, 20 May 2016 08:02    PDF Print
Dobre, Jovtchev, Korobchinsky and Lysenko Set for Hall of Fame Induction
(5 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

The International Gymnastics Hall of Fame will grow to include 91 individuals from 22 nations on May 21 in Oklahoma City. The class of 2016 comprises Aurelia Dobre (Romania), Jordan Jovtchev (Bulgaria), Igor Korobchinsky (Ukraine) and Tatiana Lysenko (Ukraine).

Bill Sorenson, who founded American Athletic, Inc., will receive the Frank Bare Award, and the 1996 women's Olympic team, which won the first gold medal for the U.S., will be honored as special guests at the 20th annual induction dinner.

Dobre stole the show at the 1987 World Championships in Rotterdam, where she became the first Romanian all-around champion. She also led her team to an upset victory over the Soviet Union, and won a third gold medal in the balance beam final.

Jovtchev will be remembered as the first (and only) male gymnast to compete in six Olympic Games (1992-2012), in which he won four medals. In 16 World Championships, however, he earned 13 medals, including four golds.

Korobchinsky made his mark in 1989, when he won the USSR Cup in April, the European Championships in May, the USSR Nationals in September and, finally, the World Championships in October.

Lysenko's career included two gold medals at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics (team, balance beam), and medals in three consecutive World Championships: 1991 (team gold); 1992 (floor bronze); and 1993 (all-around bronze). Her most impressive competition, however, might have been the 1990 World Cup, where she defeated reigning world champion Svetlana Boginskaya for the all-around gold.

Read complete coverage of the induction ceremony in the June issue of International Gymnast.

Written by John Crumlish    Wednesday, 18 May 2016 10:42    PDF Print
Corral Gains Pre-Olympic Insight From U.K.-Based Training
(4 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

As Mexican gymnast Daniel Corral heads toward his second Olympic Games this summer in Rio de Janeiro, he told IG his current training stint with the British national team in England has offered him insight and confidence.

“The main thing is that they have a solid system,” said Corral, who earned a berth to the Rio Games when he placed sixth all-around at the Olympic test event held in Rio in April. “Everyone follows it and works for the same goal.”

The British men should challenge for a team medal in Rio. They placed third at the 2012 Games in London, fourth at the 2014 World Championships in Nanning and second at the 2015 Worlds in Glasgow.

Corral is also a Rio medal candidate. He placed fifth on parallel bars at the 2012 Games, tied for the silver medal on pommel horse at the 2013 Worlds in Antwerp, and was first reserve for the floor exercise final at the 2015 Worlds in Glasgow.

Read “Sensitive Warrior,” an interview with Corral, in the April 2016 issue of International Gymnast magazine. To subscribe to the digital and/or print editions, or order back issues, click here.

Written by Amanda Turner    Sunday, 15 May 2016 22:38    PDF Print
Romania's Bulimar Suffers Torn Achilles
(7 votes, average 2.71 out of 5)

Romanian Olympian Diana Bulimar suffered a torn Achilles' tendon on Saturday and will miss the upcoming European championships in Bern.

Olympian Diana Bulimar suffered a torn Achilles' tendon and will miss the upcoming European championships, Romanian news reported Sunday.

Bulimar, 20, tore her right Achilles' tendon on Saturday while tumbling a full-in on floor. She will undergo surgery on Tuesday in Bucharest and will likely be out of competition for the rest of the year.

The news is yet another blow to the struggling Romanian women's team, which last month failed to qualify to the Olympic Games for the first time since 1968.

The Romanian team was counting on Bulimar to contribute next month at the European championships in Bern, where the women will be the two-time defending senior champions. The team already lost Larisa Iordache and Laura Jurca to injuries this year.

Bulimar, a member of Romania's bronze medal-winning team from the 2012 Olympics, has previously undergone three knee surgeries.

External Link: Romanian Gymnastics Federation

Written by John Crumlish    Thursday, 12 May 2016 09:20    PDF Print
Slovakia's Mokošová Training Toward Rio 'On a Very Intense Level'
(2 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

Slovakian gymnast Barbora Mokošová told IG that, after earning a berth to this summer’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro through her performance at last month’s Olympic test event, she is training fervently toward the Games.

“It was amazing, and I could not believe that I was able to fulfill my dream and qualify for the Olympic Games,” said Mokošová, who is now focusing on next month’s European Championships in Bern, Switzerland. “I am taking every single competition very seriously, and my preparation for each is the same and on a very intense level.”

Mokošová, who turned 19 on March 10, has been a mainstay for Slovakia during the current Olympic quadrennium. She placed 39th all-around in qualifications (50.999) at the 2013 World Championships in Antwerp, 81st all-around in qualifications (50.465) at the 2014 Worlds in Nanning, and 90th all-around in qualifications (50.724) at the 2015 Worlds in Glasgow.

At the Olympic test event last month, Mokošová scored 52.532 to finished 43rd all-around, counting a fall on balance beam.

Among Mokošová's best results are a sixth place on uneven bars at the 2014 Challenge Cup of Ljubljana, fifth on uneven bars at the 2015 Challenge Cup of Osijek, 17th all-around at the 2015 European Championships in Montpellier, France, and 18th all-around at the 2015 European Games in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Mokošová, who was named Slovakia’s Female Gymnast of the Year in 2014 and 2015, said she wants to boost the scoring potential of her 2016 program for an optimal performance at the Rio Games.

“I would like to finish the routines that I am working on currently, to get them to a higher level and ensure myself higher start values,” said Mokošová, who trains under coaches Martin Zvalo and Nadežda Miklošová at the club Slavia UK Bratislava. “I would like to work on vault and try to get into the vault final, and I would like to get to the all-around final.”

Mokošová said she hopes her performance in Rio will help rejuvenate women’s gymnastics in Slovakia. Two-time Olympian Zuzana Sekerova’s 47th-place all-around finish at the 2004 Athens Games is the Slovakian women’s top recent Olympic finish.

“I will absolutely try to do my best to represent my country on a very high level and hopefully make this sport more popular,” Mokošová told IG. “In the past years we are lacking in young and prospective athletes, which is a very sad thing, because gymnastics used to be very popular in Slovakia. I hope for this trend to return.”


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