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Written by John Crumlish    Sunday, 22 December 2013 22:37    PDF Print
Fitness, Firefighting on Agenda for Loran
(4 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

IG Online's annual series of holiday-themed features continues with this update from 2013 Elite Canada all-around champion Anderson Loran, who aims to overcome the injuries he sustained this year and be at his best in 2014.

Loran, who placed first on pommel horse at the Canadian championships in May, said winning the Elite Canada all-around title in February was his most memorable performance of 2013. In addition to winning the all-around, he placed first on high bar, and second on pommel horse, rings and parallel bars.

Anderson Loran (Canada)

"It was satisfying because I didn't have many falls," Loran said. "I hit all of my routines on the first day, and only had one fall on floor on the second. I was quite happy with my performance and had a lot of fun."

Although injuries hampered Loran's performances at subsequent competitions this year, including the world championships in Antwerp in the fall, he is eager to retain his Elite Canada title in February.

"About a month after Elite Canada, I obtained a back injury that held me out of a few events at the national championships and a few competitions throughout the season," he said. "I tore a ligament in my thumb at a training camp before Worlds, which also kept me from competing in the all-around at Worlds. I am still recovering from both of these injuries. I am hoping to be healthy come Elite Canada."

Born March 25, 1991, in Saskatoon, Sask., Loran trains under coach Markos Baikas at Taiso Gymnastics Club in his hometown. He won the silver medal on high bar at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi. In 2011 Loran placed seventh all-around at the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, and fifth all-around at the Elite Canada meet and the Canadian championships.

At the 2012 Elite Canada meet, Loran finished second all-around, and first on pommel horse and high bar. He was fourth all-around, second on pommel horse and third on floor exercise at the 2012 Canadian Championships.

Loran has diverse gymnastics goals for 2014. They include strengthening his routines, healing his injuries, competing all-around at the Canadian Championships in May, and contending for spots on the Canadian teams for next summer's Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and next fall's Worlds in Nanning.

"Out of gymnastics, I am applying for a firefighting college in Brandon, Man., and I would like to be accepted into that school," he added.

Loran's health challenges in 2013 gave him a valuable perspective on future training, he said.

"One of the most important things that came to light in my gymnastics life is to remain healthy," he said. "Avoiding injuries will be one of my main focuses in 2014. I have always been a hard worker in the gym, and if I can remain healthy enough to train all of my skills, then the sky is the limit." During the upcoming holidays, Loran plans to enjoy downtime with family and friends.

"Since I can remember, I have spent every New Year's Eve at my cabin at Martin's Lake, with last year being the exception," he said. "I plan on celebrating Christmas with my family in Saskatoon and New Year's Eve up at my cabin. Enjoying a few drinks and playing some shinny (hockey) out on the ice with my cousins sounds about right."

After the holidays, Loran said he wants to be as fit as possible.

"My New Year's resolutions are to get healthy, injury-wise, and remain as healthy as possible throughout the 2014 season," he told IG.

International Gymnast magazine's recent features on Canadian gymnasts include:

"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)
Madeline Gardiner, Anysia Unick and Victoria Moors cover photo (March 2011)
"Candid Canadians" – Madeline Gardiner and Jackson Payne interviews (September 2011)
Christine Peng-Peng Lee interview (April 2011)
Gael Mackie profile (July/August 2011)
"Sudden Impact" - Victoria Moors interview (January/February 2013)
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    Friday, 20 December 2013 21:34    PDF Print
Karmakar Hopes For Good Karma in New Year
(4 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

IG Online's annual series of holiday-themed features continues with this profile on two-time World Cup vault finalist Dipa Karmakar of India, who placed 18th on vault at this fall's world championships.

IG Online's annual series of holiday-themed features continues with this profile on two-time World Cup vault finalist Dipa Karmakar of India, who placed 18th on vault at this fall's world championships.

Karmakar swept all five gold medals at this year's Indian gymnastics championships, but told IG her most memorable moment of 2013 was her solid vault performance at the world championships in Antwerp. She placed 18th in qualifications, where she performed a high piked barani and a full-twisting Tsukahara.

Karmakar swept all five gold medals at the 2013 Indian Gymnastics Championships

"Actually I was very satisfied on vault, as it was my best event," said Karmakar, who was 32nd on vault at the 2009 Worlds in London and 21st on vault at the 2011 Worlds in Tokyo.

Born Aug. 9, 1993, in Agartala, Karmakar is coached by Bisweswar Nandi at the NSRCC Club in her hometown. She placed seventh on vault at the 2010 Doha World Cup in Qatar and the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi; and eighth on vault at the 2010 Ghent World Cup in Belgium and the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou, China. In 2011, Karmakar was 11th on vault at the Ghent World Challenge Cup.

Karmakar now wants to make the leap from vault finalist to vault medalist in international meets in the coming years.

"I have not achieved an international medal for India," said Karmakar, whose father, Dulal Karmakar, is Sports Authority of India's weightlifting coach. "But it is my hope for the future of India to win a medal at the (2014) Commonwealth Games in Scotland, and participate in the Rio Olympic Games in 2016 and hopefully win a medal."

Karmakar, who placed 63rd all-around in qualifications in Antwerp, said she favors vault but wants to improve her all-around status, too. Her top skills in Antwerp included a punch front and layout gainer dismount off the end on balance beam; and an Arabian double front, 2 1/2 twist and double tuck on floor exercise.

"I love and enjoy doing vault, and am well-focused on vault because I feel like it is my best event," Karmakar said. "For 2014, I want a Commonwealth Games medal and get a good all-around ranking at the world championship, at least better than 45th place."

To achieve that goal, Karmakar is committed to more hard work in 2014.

"My resolution for the new year is to improve and make my uneven bars routine strong," she said.

Teammates will play a big role when Karmakar welcomes 2014.

"At present I am at an Indian training camp that continues (into 2014), so obviously I will celebrate the new year at camp with my coach and all of my gymnastics friends," she said.

Karmakar said she plans to train and compete provided she stays healthy.

"As long as my body cooperates, I will try my best to give my best," she told IG.

Written by John Crumlish    Thursday, 19 December 2013 07:14    PDF Print
Switzerland's Hegi Has High Bar Hopes For 2014
(3 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

IG Online's annual series of holiday-themed features continues with Switzerland's Oliver Hegi, who told IG he is working to compensate for a disastrous grip malfunction that botched his chances in the all-around final at this fall's world championships by earning success in 2014.

Oliver Hegi (Switzerland)

"Actually I wasn't very disappointed or frustrated after the finals, because I already achieved my goal in the qualifications with the ninth rank," said Hegi, who finished 23rd all-around in Antwerp, where he was unable to finish his routine on high bar after his grip broke. "I knew it would be very hard to score as many points as in the qualification. Even though I fell on pommel horse, I was very confident and did my best. Unfortunately my grip snapped on high bar, but it was easy to reconcile, because it was not my own mistake."

Born Feb. 20, 1993, in Villmergen, Hegi has been a mainstay on the Swiss team for the past two Olympic cycles. He won four silver medals at the 2010 European Junior Championships in Birmingham; placed first all-around at the 2011 Trofeo di Lugano in Italy; and placed third all-around at the 2012 Hungarian Grand Prix, where he was first on pommel horse, second on vault and third on horizontal bar.

Hegi views his performance in Antwerp as a learning experience.

"I think the biggest point I will have to work on is my stability and steadiness," said Hegi, who also this year won the bronze medal on high bar at the Challenge Cup of Doha and two medals at the Dityatin Cup in St. Petersburg. "And, of course, I will need to develop my routines and make them more difficult."

Hegi said he is confident in his role as a veteran and mentor on the Swiss team that includes Olympian Claudio Capelli and fellow 2013 Worlds all-around finalist Pablo Brägger.

"I really hope I can improve myself and be an important member in the Swiss team for the Olympic Games in 2016, and help the younger gymnasts gain experience," he said.

Hegi has ambitious goals for all-around and apparatuses in the new year.

"My goals for 2014 are to qualify for the all-around, pommel horse, parallel bars and high bar finals at both the European and world championships," said Hegi, who trains under head coach Bernhard Fluck and assistant coaches Laurent Guélzec and Laurent Tricoire in Lenzburg. "My goal besides gymnastics is staying in school."

In the immediate future, Hegi intends to relax and enjoy the Christmas season.

"I will spend the holidays with my family and my friends in Switzerland," said Hegi, who lives in Schafisheim. "I haven't planned anything special yet. Most of the time I will be relaxing and recovering from training."

Hegi said he in undecided on other potential changes in 2014.

"I don't have any new year's resolution yet," he told IG, "but maybe I will think of one in the next three weeks."

International Gymnast magazine's coverage of Swiss gymnastics includes:
"No Turning Back" - Claudio Capelli profile (June 2011)
"Swiss Hit" - Ariella Käslin profile (December 2008)
"Swiss Thrill-seeker" - Ariella Käslin short profile (January/February 2007)
"A New Swiss Standout" - Ilaria Käslin profile (December 2013)
"Full Force" – Giulia Steingruber interview (June 2013)
"A New Hit for the Swiss" – Giulia Steingruber profile (December 2009)

To subscribe or order back issues, click here.

Written by John Crumlish    Tuesday, 17 December 2013 21:31    PDF Print
IG Interview: João Marcus Fuglsig (Denmark)
(5 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

IG's annual series of holiday-themed features continues with this interview with Denmark's João Marcus Fuglsig, who assessed the highs and lows of 2013 and his goals for 2014. Pictured: Fuglsig fractured his femur and fibia on vault at the 2013 Worlds in Antwerp.

IG's annual series of holiday-themed features continues with this interview with Denmark's João Marcus Fuglsig. Born to a Brazilian mother and a Danish father, and coached by Romanians, Fuglsig is eager to better his solid 2013 results with international success in 2014.

Fuglsig, who turned 22 on Nov. 5, trains at VIK Aarhus, where is coached by Romanian-born Adrian Sandu and two-time Romanian Olympian Marian Rizan. He placed 43rd all-around in qualifications at this spring's European championships in Moscow, and 61st all-around in qualifications at this summer's World University Games in Kazan. At this fall's world championships in Antwerp, he competed parallel bars, floor exercise and still rings before an injury on vault — fractures to his femur and tibia — ended his competition on a negative note.

Although Fuglsig's results in major international competitions are modest, he has gained confidence from his recent achievements in regional and domestic meets. He placed seventh all-around at the 2012 Northern Europeans in Glasgow, and at the 2013 Danish Championships, he placed second all-around, first on parallel bars, second on vault, and third on floor exercise and pommel horse. After his leg injury in Antwerp, he recovered well enough to compete several events to help VIK Aarhus win its fifth consecutive title at the Danish team championships in November.

Fuglsig recently shared with IG his assessment of the highs and lows of 2013, his plans for celebrating the upcoming holidays and his goals for international success in 2014.

IG: Looking back on 2013, which performance or moment of your gymnastics gave you the most satisfaction, and why?

JMF: I would say the moment that gave me the most satisfaction in 2013 was the build-up to Antwerp. I was getting in great shape, and was starting to hit my favorite event – vault – more stably. I was doing a Roche and my new second vault, a double-twisting Yurchenko. This whole period from August to the end of September was all-in-all a great time for me. It was also something new for me only to compete on four events. In general I don't enjoy myself very much on pommel horse and high bar, which are my weakest events, so to focus on my better apparatuses for some time was great. However, I am an all-arounder, and hopefully I will stay so for many years still, so getting back after (the injury in) Antwerp and picking up on those two events felt like "getting home" after some time out.

Fuglsig doing a Yurchenko timer on vault

IG: You are a mainstay on the Danish team, with several medals at this year's Danish championships, as well as good results in Moscow and Antwerp. What is your plan for improving your results in 2014?

JMF: The season from 2012 to summer 2013 held a lot of challenges for me and my teammates. We didn't have a stable coaching situation, and mostly trained and spotted ourselves. Now, however, we have a great coach who has been with us since June, and with his help and guidance I hope to improve a lot over the next few months so I can join the battle of 80-plus points (in the all-around). My plan is to keep myself free of injuries and to train more focused on the routines planned for the next season - rather than just working on a lot of new stuff and then when the season starts, taking a look at what I could fit into a routine.

IG: You have a Portuguese first name — which part of your background in Portuguese and which is Danish?

JMF: My Portuguese first name comes from my Brazilian mother. I am named after one of my uncles, João Batista. But to facilitate my life in Denmark my parents chose to add the name Marcus, which is more international and pronounceable for Danes. My father is a Dane, and, after marriage, my parents moved to Denmark where they both studied and have been living here since.

IG: How will you spend the upcoming holidays?

JMF: I will be celebrating Christmas in Aarhus this year. Initially the plan was to celebrate with my wonderful and large family in Brazil, but due to some complications and since my family did that last year, we decided to celebrate in Denmark this year - which is also very nice! I really love the Danish Christmas, the traditions, and the snowy weather. As we are a culturally mixed family, we pick and choose a bit in the traditions. However, temperature aside, Brazilian and Danish Christmas are much alike - family, Mass, presents and of course great food. The food traditions in Denmark are very strong, while in Brazil it is not, so we always do the Danish version, which is a special pork dish with sweet potatoes and brown sauce – even if we go to Brazil.

Another tradition is the dancing around the Christmas tree. This is a tradition I really enjoy! We form a circle around the tree holding hands and then we dance around the tree singing old traditional Christmas songs. This tradition is typically Danish. We've tried to bring it to our Christmases in Brazil. However, as we are a huge family with only one tree, it can be complicated.

I will celebrate New Year's Eve with my friends from school. It will most likely be a typical celebration with good food, good wine, the Queen's speech, and at midnight a lot explosives and champagne! The plans are not quite set yet, but in the end it's all about celebrating the year that has passed, and looking forward to the new one and what happiness and success it brings.

Two months after fracturing his leg at the 2013 World Championships, Fuglsig helped VIK Aarhus win its fifth consecutive team title at the Danish team championships.

IG: What are your goals for 2014, in and out of the gym?

JMF: In the gym I aim to best all my previous highest scores. Also, I would be happy to claim medals at the Nordic Championships, and the Northern Europeans, which are going to be on home soil. Moreover I hope to make a good team result at the Europeans and worlds. And last but not least, I hope to compete and land well in my vaults so I can get as close to a European final as possible. I have a lot to show in the 2014 season. First off I had a good competition in Moscow (2013 Europeans), but with a ruined result due to three falls in dismounts. I know I can get close to 80 points and that is definitely my goal for the 2014 season – to prove that I can mess with the guys in that league. At the Northern European Championships in 2012 I scored a 79.7 with a fall. However, that was with the "old" vault code (before vault difficulty scores were devalued), and that is a record I want to beat.

Also, if I could defend my national title on parallel bars, or win one or two in other events that would be great! However, the return of our strongest gymnast, Helge Vammen, will make the competition a lot tougher. And, last but not least, the world championships in Nanning. First of all I would want to be on the team in as many events as possible, and eventually all six. Secondly I have a dream that our team can make a good result and get close to the top 24 to qualify a whole team for Glasgow (2015 Worlds). I know the boys and I are capable of it, so we need to focus on getting our routines stable and clean. And, of course, I would be quite content to not have to leave the arena being carried, and with a month off due to injury, as I did in Antwerp.

IG: If you have any New Year's Resolutions, what are they?

JMF: I am not a big New Year's Resolutions guy, but I guess I hope to have a year without injuries and to pass all exams at dentistry school so I don't have to worry about them while I train for a great season.

International Gymnast magazine's 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    Monday, 16 December 2013 08:20    PDF Print
Bone Fracture Helped McKayla Maroney Land Role on 'Bones'
(14 votes, average 4.93 out of 5)

World and Olympic gold medalist McKayla Maroney told IG it was her recent injury-forced downtime that allowed her to play a gymnast suspected of murder on a recent episode of FOX's hit show "Bones." Pictured: Maroney (left) with actress Emily Deschanel and actor David Boreanaz (at right) in a scene from the Dec. 6 episode, "The Spark In The Park."

World and Olympic gold medalist McKayla Maroney told IG it was her recent injury-forced downtime that allowed her to play a gymnast suspected of murder on a recent episode of FOX's hit show "Bones."

"The plot is that this girl was killed, and they're wondering if it was the dad, the coach or me or this other girl who did it," Maroney said of the episode that aired Dec. 6. "Nobody really knew how she died. It's a really good episode. It's a little dark."

Now in its ninth season, the show stars Emily Deschanel as forensic anthropologist Dr. Temperance "Bones" Brennan, who teams up with FBI agent David Boreanaz to solve crimes based on skeletal evidence.

Maroney, who has appeared in a recurring role on three episodes of the comedy-drama series "Hart of Dixie," said her agent called to advise her of the "Bones" role while she was recovering from an avulsion fracture to her right patella.

"It's really hard when you can't do anything at the gym, because I love gymnastics so much," said Maroney, who trains under coaches Artur Akopyan and Galina Marinova at All Olympia Gymnastics Center in Los Angeles. "You get depressed because you're like, 'Everybody's working and I'm here sitting.' I feel for all gymnasts who get hurt. Injuries are just awful, but at least I had 'Bones' to work on when I wasn't training. It got my mind off the fact that I couldn't do anything."

Maroney said she had to audition for "Bones" as would any other actress, and she got the part despite auditioning with strep.

"There were other girls who wanted the part, actresses who were no longer gymnasts," said Maroney, who won vault at the 2011 and 2013 worlds and placed second on vault at the 2012 Olympic Games. 'There was a big room and I walked in and it was like, 'McKayla!' and I was like, 'Hi, I'm auditioning for the part, too.'"

Maroney said she enjoyed her scenes in the episode, entitled "The Spark In The Park," which required numerous takes in order to capture reactions of all of the actors in them. The gymnastics scenes also included former elites and NCAA stars Vanessa Zamarippa and Kristina Baskett as stunt performers.

"You have to do things from every single angle," she said. "There were five actors in the shot, and you have to make sure you get a close-up of each person's face. So that means you have to do a scene for every single person. They would have a scene for me so they would watch me tumble, and then they would have my face for the whole time while I'm talking to them. And they have to get shots from each of them, and then from the outside."

Maroney, who resumed training last week, said she looks forward to strengthening her all-around program in 2014.

While her work on "Bones" did not require her to perform difficult skills, she said she needed endurance to complete "at least" 70 takes of her tumbling pass that ended with a layout back somersault.

"It's like gymnastics," Maroney told IG. "You do it over and over and over again. People were asking me things like, 'Why didn't you do a double layout or something?' And I was like, 'Because I'm not going to do a double layout 70 times!'"

Flip over to to see video outtakes and extras from the filming of the "Spark in the Park" episode featuring Maroney!

McKayla Maroney is featured in the following issues of International Gymnast magazine:

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 subscribe or order back issues, click here.


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