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Written by John Crumlish    Thursday, 09 January 2014 23:50    PDF Print
Netteb 'Greatly Motivated' To Return From Knee Injury
(6 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

Recovering from the knee injury she suffered in the vault final at last fall's world championships, Dutch gymnast Chantysha Netteb told IG she is gaining strength and anticipates full recovery.

Recovering from the knee injury she suffered in the vault final at last fall's world championships, Dutch gymnast Chantysha Netteb told IG she is gaining strength and anticipates full recovery.

"My rehabilitation is going well," said Netteb, who tore her right ACL tear and damaged her meniscus in the vault final at the worlds in Antwerp in October. "I have intensive physical therapy for my knee (to improve) range of motion and strength of the specific part of the upper leg muscle, and coordination training. Beside this, I do some personal training for my arms, shoulders, back and abdominal muscles."

Netteb after injuring her knee at the 2013 Worlds in Antwerp

Netteb, who also made the vault final at last spring's European championships in Moscow, credits her optimism to her support team members. They include her mother and other relatives, friends, coach Katarina Sarisska, sports physician Liesbeth Lim and physical therapists.

"The doctors told me that it might take about 12 months for a full 100 percent recovery and take part in competitions, especially for my specialization on vault," Netteb said.

Despite being away from competition since October, Netteb remains in the public eye. On Dec. 19, 2013, she was named Sportswoman 2013 in Kennemerland, Haarlem, where her club, Bato Haarlem, is located. Netteb was presented with the Pim Mulier Award, named for one of the founders of modern sports in the Netherlands, at the Topsport Gala in Kennemerland.

"I was awarded the title because I won the Dutch championship on bars and also managed to make it to the vault finals at the European and world championships in my first senior year," Netteb said. "I was named Sporting Talent of 2012 in Kennemerland, Haarlem, and did not expect to become Sportswoman immediately the year after, because it never happened before. But I was very pleased when I was given the award and I am honored that I've won."

Netteb said she views her injury from a positive perspective, rather than a career-threatening setback.

"Through the years you constantly prepare yourself for the next competition," she said. "I noticed that this brief interruption has helped me to look back at my gymnastics performances and victories in a different way. It makes me enjoy my previous experiences in a different perspective, and come to appreciate them more than before."

Netteb said she views her injury and subsequent recovery process as trials she is determined to face and overcome.

"It is unfortunate when one's gymnastics career has to be interrupted in a way like this," she said. "I have got to be positive. I am motivated and very encouraged, especially the way my rehabilitation is going. I see it as a challenge, just as I have seen every gymnastics season as a challenge."

Although Netteb's injury has temporarily restricted her gymnastics training to only uneven bars, she said she remains focused on her long-term goal.

"I will definitely work on my upper-body strength, and I think this injury can help me to improve me on bars, since this will be the only apparatus that I can do now," she told IG. "It will certainly help me to work on my patience, and also put it to the test. My ultimate goal is the 2016 Olympics in Rio. With that in mind, I am greatly motivated."

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

"Miracles Do Happen" – Imke Glas profile (May 2008)
"Fresh Start" - Loes Linders profile (April 2006)
Tess Moonen on cover photo collage (July/August 2010)
"Power Trip" - Yuri van Gelder profile (January/February 2009)
Yuri van Gelder two-page center poster (June 2008)
"Just Verdict" - Céline van Gerner interview (July/August 2012)
"Ready to Rise for the Netherlands" – Noel van Klaveren profile (June 2013)
Gabriella Wammes profile (October 2009)
"Comebacks Complete" - Jeffrey Wammes/Verona van de Leur profile (September 2007)
"Calculated Risk" – Lichelle Wong profile (May 2010)
"Perseverance Pays Off" – Lichelle Wong profile (July/August 2007)
"The Flying Dutchman" – Epke Zonderland interview (May 2010)

To subscribe or order back issues, click here.

Written by Amanda Turner    Saturday, 04 January 2014 17:34    PDF Print
Progressive Skating & Gymnastics Spectacular Airs Sunday
(9 votes, average 4.11 out of 5)

Gymnastics and figure skating — the most-watched sports in the Summer and Winter Olympics respectively — collide with live musical guests in Sunday's broadcast of the Progressive Skating & Gymnastics Spectacular, which airs 1 to 3 p.m. EST on NBC.

Nastia Liukin performing at the Progressive Skating & Gymnastics Spectacular

Olympic gymnastics champions Nastia Liukin, Catalina Ponor and Jordyn Wieber headline the gymnastics group, along with U.S. men's stars John Orozco, Steven Legendre, Brandon Wynn and Paul Ruggeri.

The annual show featured a special double performance from British superstar Beth Tweddle, a three-time Olympian. Tweddle, who won the 2013 edition of Dancing on Ice with partner Daniel Whiston, skated with Whiston and performed gymnastics during the show. The three-time world champion and 2012 Olympic bronze medalist laced up her skates and tumbled despite a torn calf muscle. She is training to try to defend her title in the 2014 Stars on Ice, the popular British reality competition show. Tweddle, who announced her retirement from gymnastics this past summer, will partner with pro Lukasz Rozycki for the upcoming season.

Live musical guests are reigning American Idol champion Candice Glover, plus Disney stars Coco Jones and Lucas Grabeel.

The ice skating lineup features U.S. men's national champions Max Aaron (2013), Ryan Bradley (2011) and 2013 U.S. pairs champions Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir, along with Canadian favorites Elvis StojkoJoannie Rochette and Kurt Browning.

Event hosts are Olympic champions Nadia Comaneci, Kristi Yamaguchi and Bart Conner, along with three-time U.S. champion Michael Weiss. Weiss' father, Greg Weiss, was a member of the U.S. gymnastics team at the 1964 Olympic Games in Rome.

Sunday's broadcast coincides with the beginning of the 2014 U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Boston, which also serve as the U.S. trials to the upcoming Olympics. The XXII Olympic Winter Games take place Feb. 6-23 in Sochi, Russia.

The Russian-born Liukin, who is now a student at New York University, will serve as a cultural correspondent for NBC in Sochi.

Written by John Crumlish    Saturday, 28 December 2013 18:52    PDF Print
Finland's Kirmes Eager For New Starts in 2014
(7 votes, average 4.71 out of 5)

IG Online's annual series of holiday-themed features continues with Icelandic-born Oskar Kirmes, who switched from Swedish to Finnish citizenship this spring. Pictured: Kirmes poses at his gym, Espoon Telinetaiturit, in Finland.

IG Online's annual series of holiday-themed features continues with Icelandic-born Oskar Kirmes, who switched from Swedish to Finnish citizenship this spring and earned the Scandinavian men's top all-around ranking at this fall's world championships.

The son of former gymnasts from Estonia and Sweden, Kirmes told IG he is ready for new competitive challenges while representing his adopted country in the new year.

"My goals are to make it to the European championships and world championships and do great there," Kirmes said. "They are both team competitions so I really hope we can do great. Of course, another goal is to make the all-around final at worlds. But I need to work really hard to get stronger, get higher Difficulty-scores and perform clean routines."

Kirmes at 2013 Worlds (Photo: Milla Vahtila)

After injuring his knee early in the year, Kirmes gained momentum – and Finnish citizenship. He represented Sweden through the European championships in Moscow in April, and secured the right to compete for Finland immediately afterward.

"I didn't do very well," Kirmes said of his performance in Moscow, where he placed 39th all-around in qualifications. "Of course my goal was to make the all-around final, but it did not go as planned. I had too many small mistakes and a very bad pommel horse routine, and I wasn't even close to a final. Even though I did a bad competition, I was happy with my floor routine, where I scored a new personal best."

Kirmes's path to Finnish citizenship began in the Icelandic capital of Reykjavik, where he was born on Dec. 19, 1995. His father and coach, Mati Kirmes, was a gymnast in Estonia when it was part of the Soviet Union, and later met his Swedish wife at a competition in Finland. Mati eventually moved to Sweden, and the couple later moved to Reykjavik for work.

When Oskar was 1, the family moved to Älvsbyn, Sweden, where his maternal grandparents and cousins lived. New job offers relocated the family to Espoo, Finland, when Oskar was approximately 12. Adjusting to life in Finland was not easy, he said, but gradually he gained confidence in and out of the gym.

"We didn't know anyone here in Espoo, so it was very difficult at the beginning," said Kirmes, who trains at the club Espoon Telinetaiturit. "It was very difficult to learn the language, too. After a time I started to like it very much and the trainings were going really well. I decided that I wanted to compete for Finland because I live here, they have a stronger team and they go to more international competitions to get better experience. I have been training with the Finnish national team for many years now and I enjoy it very much."

Immediately after Kirmes received Finnish citizenship this spring, he earned success at home and abroad. In May he won the all-around title at the Finnish championships, where he also took two gold and two bronze medals in the apparatus finals. A week later he placed fourth all-around at the Dityatin Cup in St. Petersburg, where he scored a personal best all-around total.

Kirmes said he was pleased to qualify for the Finnish team that competed at this fall's world championships in Antwerp, where his 32nd-place ranking in qualifications was the best by a Scandinavian male gymnast.

"I had a lot more pressure on myself because it much harder to make it to the Finnish team (than the Swedish team)," said Kirmes, whose younger brother Robert is also a gymnast. "So when I heard that I made it to the world championships representing Finland, I was really happy, and I knew that I had to make a good competition there to prove that I can be a part of the Finnish team. I did a good competition at worlds, with just one stupid fall on rings, and I placed 27th on floor. This was good for me at my first big competition for Finland."

Following Christmas at home with his family, and New Year's Eve in Estonia with his paternal grandparents and cousins, Kirmes plans to turn his attention to new gymnastics ambitions.

"I will get back to the gym to get ready for 2014," he told IG. "I need to get a higher D-score on all the events, but still do clean and nice gymnastics. I have a lot of work to do, together with my teammates and coaches, but we will do our best to achieve our goals."

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

"Great Danes" - profile on Rasmus Brandtoft and Kasper Fardan (January 2004)

"Hope in Helsinki" – feature on IG's visit to Voimisteluseura VSH men's club (January 2013) Heikki Savolainen/Hall of Fame induction feature (June/July 2004)
"Fearless Finn" – Tomi Tuuha interview/photo gallery (December 2012)
"10 Questions with Jani Tanskanen" – interview with FIG Athletes' Commission president (October 2010)
"Second Youth" – Jani Tanskanen profile (January/February 2007)
"Flight of Faith" – Annamari Maaranen profile (November 2007)

"Icelandic Warm-up" - feature on IG's visit to Icelandic clubs (November 2012)
"She's Keeping Her Cool" - feature on Sigga Bergthorsdottir (October 2012)

"Scouting Scandinavia" - feature on IG's visit to clubs in Sweden and Norway (March 2011)
"Elder Statesman" - Espen Jansen profile (May 2009)

"Swedish History-maker" - Jonna Adlerteg profile (November 2010)
"Scouting Scandinavia" – feature on IG's visit to clubs in Sweden and Norway (March 2011)
"Swedish Upswing" – women's team feature (November 2010)
"Swedish Achiever" - Ida Gustafsson short profile (June 3013)
"Sweden's Standout" - Mans Stenberg profile (March 2010)
William Thoresson profile/Hall of Fame induction feature (August/September 2001)
"Quick Chat: Veronica Wagner" (November 2008)
"Veronica's Date: 2008" – Veronica Wagner profile (February 2005)
"Swedish Sojourn" – Karolina Bohman profile (February 2003)

To subscribe or order back issues, click here.

Written by John Crumlish    Friday, 27 December 2013 01:09    PDF Print
Moors Aims For 'More Positive' 2014
(2 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

IG Online's annual series of holiday-themed features continues with Canadian Olympian Victoria Moors, who finished 2013 with a pair of winning performances at this month's Toyota Cup in Japan and a new ultra-difficult skill named for her in the International Gymnastics Federation's Code of Points.

In the all-around final at this fall's world championships in Antwerp, Moors became the first woman to successfully completed a double-twisting double layout on floor exercise in FIG competition, and the skill is now named "the Moors." As the full-twisting double layout was already rated as the highest-level "G" skill in the Code of Points, the FIG opened a new difficulty category ("I" value) for the skill. Moors' original "D"-value dismount on uneven bars (toe on, layout-half) also bears her name.

Moors told IG she was especially pleased with that achievement, after she under-rotated the skill in qualifications and fell.

"Floor being the first event I competed (in qualifications), I was really hoping to make all-around (final) after that so I would have another shot to compete it," said Moors, who finished 10th all-around in Antwerp. "It's not an easy skill to do, and I'm very proud of myself that I came back after a fall in qualifications."

Moors, trains at Dynamo Gymnastics in Cambridge, Ont., under two-time Soviet Olympic gold medalist Elvira Saadi, experienced an up-and-down 2013. An injury prevented her from competing all events at the Canadian championships in the spring. However, she finished her competitive year on a bright note by placing first on uneven bars, first on floor exercise and second on balance beam at the Toyota Cup in Japan earlier this month.

As Moors enjoys the holidays with family and friends, she is approaching the new year with an open agenda.

"I really have no goals for 2014," she told IG. "I'm just going to take things day by day and just enjoy the experience. My New Year's resolution is to try and be nicer and more positive toward things!"

International Gymnast magazine's recent features on Canadian gymnasts include:
"Sudden Impact" - Victoria Moors interview (January/February 2013)
Victoria Moors, Madeline Gardiner and Anysia Unick cover photo (March 2011)
"Canadian Diversity" – Ellie Black and Hugh Smith profiles (July/August 2013)
"Black to Business" - Ellie Black interview (November 2012)
"Aiming to Top the Charts" - Maegan Chant interview (October 2013)
"Veteran Presence" – Nathan Gafuik interview (July/August 2010)
"Candid Canadians" – Madeline Gardiner and Jackson Payne interviews (September 2011)
Christine Peng-Peng Lee interview (April 2011)
Gael Mackie profile (July/August 2011)
Scott Morgan profile – December 2013
"Pegg Much More Motivated" – Dominique Pegg profile (March 2010)
"Confident Canadian" - Brittany Rogers interview (May 2012)
"Savona Surges into Recovery" – Jessica Savona short profile (October 2011)
"Catching up with Lori Strong Ballard" (June 2012)
"Stage Flight" - Yvonne Tousek update (November 2010)
"Veteran Presence" - Kristina Vaculik profile (July/August 2010)
Kristina Vaculik cover photo (April 2010)

To subscribe or order back issues, click here.

Written by John Crumlish    Tuesday, 24 December 2013 18:47    PDF Print
'2014 is my Year,' Says New Zealand's David Bishop
(2 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

IG Online's annual series of holiday-themed features continues with this profile on New Zealand's David Bishop, who plans to celebrate a sunny Christmas and New Year's birthday following a bright 2013 competition year.

Bishop, who finished 46th all-around at this summer's World University Games in Kazan and 61st all-around at this fall's World Championships in Antwerp, said he was especially pleased with his performance at the World Cup of Anadia, Portugal, in June. He finished 12th on floor exercise and 13th on high bar in Anadia.

David Bishop (New Zealand)

"I had set a goal before the competition to place in the top 12," Bishop said. "I was very happy that all of my hard work had paid off when I discovered I had placed exactly 12th. I think it was most satisfying because I had injured my ankle one week before, so in the week leading up to the competition I wasn't able to train floor at all. On high bar, 13th place was a good achievement for me. I was so close to achieving two top-12 finishes."

Bishop's World Cup results provided confidence, while the world championships gave him a valuable insight on changes he will need to make for future competitions, he said.

"I didn't hit all of my routines, even though I had been consistent and hitting most of my routines all year," Bishop said of his performance in Antwerp. "I think it was my nerves that let me down, because it was my first world championships and the biggest competition of my life to date. But I try to always learn from my mistakes. Come the world championships next year, I will be more confident and consistent which, I'm planning, will lead to a result I will be proud of."

Born Jan. 1, 1990, in Auckland, Bishop trains at Tri Star Gymnastics in his hometown. His coach is David Phillips, who won the bronze medal on floor exercise at the 1998 Commonwealth Games and competed at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney.

"(Phillips) is one of only two male gymnasts ever to represent New Zealand at the Olympic Games," Bishop said. "He also used to coach me many years ago, when he was training and I was about 7 years old. I am incredibly grateful to have him as my coach."

To boost his all-around chances, Bishop said he wants to better his scoring potential on rings in particular.

"I think I have quite a lot of potential to increase my Start Value on rings," he said "I am hoping to increase it by at least 0.9 and maybe even 1.3, depending on which dismount I choose, by next year, which is quite significant."

Bishop said his training for 2014 will target summer's Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

"2014 is my year," he said. "I plan to peak for the Commonwealth Games. Firstly, I want to qualify to the Games. Once I'm there I hope to make finals in the all-around, floor and or high bar. In the finals anything can happen. I just want to nail my routine and see where it gets me."

Following Glasgow, Bishop looks forward to the 2014 Worlds in October in Nanning, China,.

"Of course I also want to compete in Nanning," he said. "My goal for those world championships is just to hit all of my routines cleanly, and contribute to the team as much as possible."

Outside the gym, Bishop will continue his studies at Auckland University, which he hopes to graduate with a degree in mechanical engineering at the end of 2015.

Bishop said he plans to spend Christmas with his family in Auckland or at his family's beach house an hour north of Auckland.

"What I really like about a Kiwi Christmas and New Year is that it's summer here," he said. "Our Santa Claus is usually dressed in a singlet (T-shirt), shorts and jandals (flip-flops). So I usually spend most of my time traveling to all of the different beaches with friends and playing sports all day on the beach and in the water."

Even Bishop's holidays in the sun will benefit his gymnastics, he said.

"I'm looking forward to just relaxing and making the most of the good weather and time away from training, so that when I come back to training in the new year, I am refreshed, revived and ready to work harder than ever," told IG.


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