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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'
(1 vote, 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.”

Written by dwight normile    Tuesday, 10 May 2016 09:17    PDF Print
U.S. Men's Olympic Team Up for Grabs
(7 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

June promises to hold plenty of drama for the U.S. men's program. With the P&G Championships in Hartford, Conn., June 3-5, and the Olympic Trials in St. Louis, June 23-26, several subplots will play out, one way or another.

The most compelling storyline involves three-time defending U.S. champion Sam Mikulak. The slightly torn Achilles' tendon that kept him out of the Glasgow worlds last fall seems to have set him back further than expected. He looked understandably rusty at the American Cup in March, where he fell three times, and he showed little improvement at the Pacific Rim Championships in April. His high bar, which seemed to have improved before his injury, was particularly frightful, and he vaulted a Kasamatsu-2.5 instead of the Lopez he used to do. The U.S. can't afford a 5.6 vault in a team final. If his inconsistency continues in June, the selection committee will be faced with a conundrum. All of Mikulak's acrobatic brilliance is meaningless if he can't hit.

At this point, the only assured berth would go to Donnell Whittenburg (pictured), whose form issues are more than compensated by his amplitude and difficulty. That may sound like a contradiction to traditional gymnastics, but that's how the current rules work. Plus, he tends to hit more often than not. And if he can fix that one pass on floor that cost him the Pacific Rim all-around (not to mention his vault fall), he has a chance to medal in Rio.

Beyond Whittenburg, Mikulak will be in a tussle with fellow 2012 Olympians Jake Dalton, John Orozco (both coming off injuries) and Danell Leyva. Add Alex Naddour, Paul Ruggeri, Eddie Penev and perhaps Marvin Kimble, and things get interesting. Naddour has a good shot because he's the best pommel horse worker of all the contenders. And give him props for learning a piked double Tsukahara on vault, an event where the U.S. has lagged behind internationally. He'll need to land three out of four in June. Ruggeri and Penev are strong and consistent on floor and vault. Penev's improvement on pommel horse could help his cause, as he is unlikely to compete on rings, parallel bars or high bar. Ruggeri, however, can contribute on p-bars and high bar. Kimble is strong on pommels, but he might be a better candidate for 2020. Realistically, 2015 world team member Brandon Wynn can only help on rings on a five-man team. In Glasgow, on a six-man team, he worked rings and p-bars and high bar in prelims, and rings in the team final.

It's probably a stretch to include NCAA all-around champion Yul Muldauer, but the kid knows how to hit. And wasn't that the word on Mikulak in 2012, when he performed so well they had to put him on the team?

The selection committee certainly has several options, but all of them will leave a talented gymnast off the five-member Olympic team. And for the sake of winning a team medal in Rio, the committee better hope the best gymnasts are also the most consistent.

Read "The X Factor" a cover story on John Orozco in the April 2016 issue. To subscribe or order a back issue, click here.

Written by John Crumlish    Monday, 09 May 2016 09:24    PDF Print
Thorsdottir: 'I Do It With All My Heart'
(2 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

Although popular Dutch gymnast Eythora Thorsdottir has gained honors and fame for the unique artistry she demonstrates in her performances, she credits hard work for her success.

"I'm a person that doesn’t take things for granted," said Thorsdottir, who placed eighth on balance beam at last fall’s World Championships in Glasgow, where she also helped the Dutch team qualify for this summer’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. "I know I have to work for things I want to achieve. If I decide to do something, then I do it with all my heart."

Read ''Dutch Master,'' a four-page Thorsdottir interview and photo spread, in the April 2016 issue of International Gymnast magazine.

To order back issues, or subscribe to the print and/or digital editions of IG magazine, click here.


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