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Written by dwight normile    Friday, 13 February 2015 11:30    PDF Print
Nadia Comaneci International Set for Valentine's Day
(1 vote, average 5.00 out of 5)

In its six-year history, the Nadia Comaneci International Invitational has drawn gymnasts from all over the world and showcased both Olympic champions and emerging stars. 2008 Beijing floor exercise gold medalist Sandra Izbasa of Romania captured the first senior title, in 2009, and then Canada took over. Kristina Vaculik and Anysia Unick grabbed the next two titles, respectively, while Capital Gymnastics (Texas) swept the 2012 senior and junior golds with Mackenzie Brannon and Nicole Lehrmann.

2013 saw Canada's Victoria Moors take the senior all-around while Rebeca Andrade, the young Brazilian star, captured the junior crown. Last year, Aussie Georgia Godwin edged two-time Olympian Jessica Lopez of Venezuela in the senior division, and Irina Alexeeva, a talented Russian who trains at WOGA, eclipsed Romania's Ioana Crisan in the juniors.

Crisan is back again for the 2015 "Nadia Meet," which takes place Feb. 14 in Oklahoma City. Lopez, who placed eighth at the 2014 Nanning World Championships, will also compete as she prepares for the AT&T American Cup, March 7, the final leg of the World Cup series.

Crisan will again be joined by Deva teammates Olivia Cimpian and Alexandra Mihai, while the addition of Bulgaria's Elisabet Vasileva is sure to increase the excitement. (In one day, the video of her beam routine in training reached 803,840 people on the IG Facebook page and elicited 9,492 Likes, 464 Comments and 1,918 Shares.)

Also on hand for the second year is the dynamic Montana Fairbairn of Stampede City, and fellow Canadians Laurie-Lou Vezina and Victoria Jurca of Gym-Fly. Jenna Dunn of Bart Conner Gymnastics Academy will represent the U.S.

Since 2012, the weekend has included The Perfect 10 Challenge, an NCAA women's competition featuring the University of Oklahoma. Last year the Sooners edged six-time Alabama, 197.200-197.100, in a quad-meet with Michigan and West Virginia. Tonight, the co-national champion Sooners will face off against Kentucky at 6:45. Both the Perfect 10 Challenge and Nadia Comaneci International Invitational are held on a podium in the main arena of the Cox Convention Center.

The Nadia Meet and Bart Conner Invitational are part of the Bart & Nadia Sports Experience, which includes health and fitness activities for the whole family all day Saturday at the Cox Convention Center.

For a full schedule of events, visit www.BartandNadiaSportsExperience.com.

 
Written by John Crumlish    Tuesday, 10 February 2015 08:46    PDF Print
Watson Focuses on Fixes After Elite Canada Win
(2 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

Recently crowned Elite Canada all-around champion Robert Watson told IG his performance there should serve him well as he prepares for competitions later this year, including the Canadian championships and world championships.


Robert Watson (Canada)

"Having a competition so early in the year is always interesting," said Watson, who won the all-around title at the meet held in Trois-Rivières, Québec, Jan. 29 to Feb. 1. "For the most part we go out and have a chance to test some new routines before the year really kicks into gear. As far as preparation goes, this competition is quite far away from our national championships and was a good early indicator to see where everyone on the team was at in terms of their skill levels."

Watson, who placed first all-around at the 2014 Canadian championships, said he was pleased to overcome early problems to place first in Trois-Rivières.

"I had a few mistakes early on in the meet, and fell on a new vault I was trying to do," said Watson, who placed third all-around at 2014 Elite Canada. "After vault I was not in the top three, which had me worried. The highlight of my all-around was hitting a nice, clean parallel bars routine, even after having a rough start, which gave me the momentum to pull through and finish the competition on top."

As Watson heads into competitions later this year, he said Elite Canada helped him assess his strengths and focus on areas for improvement. Watson's next competition will be on Feb. 28, at a collegiate meet at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif. There he will be competing against Stanford and the University of California-Berkeley, as well as international teams including Japan.

"I will definitely be improving my vault, and high bar routine, to help out the team," Watson said. "And as always I will be working on cleaning up all other events and getting super consistent for the year ahead."

Watson, a member of Canada's 14th-place team at last fall's worlds in Nanning, said he is confident Canada can improve at this fall's worlds in Glasgow. The top eight teams in Glasgow will earn team berths to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Four additional teams will earn Olympic berths at a test event early next year in Rio.

"I think if our team can clean up and solidify the routines we have right now, adding a little difficulty here and there, we will be able to place top 12," he told IG.

Read a profile on Watson in the July/August 2014 issue of ''International Gymnast'' magazine.

IG magazine's other coverage of Canadian gymnastics includes:

"Gotta Dance!" – Sandra Botnen/Sasha Ivanochko profile (December 2004)
"Aiming to Top the Charts" - Maegan Chant interview (October 2013)
"Canadian Promise" - Ellie Black chat (July/August 2014)
"Canadian Diversity" - Ellie Black profile (July/August 2013)
"Black to Business" - Ellie Black interview (November 2012)
"Veteran Presence" – Nathan Gafuik interview (July/August 2010)
Madeline Gardiner, Anysia Unick and Victoria Moors cover photo (March 2011)
"Candid Canadians" - Madeline Gardiner interview (September 2011)
"A Gymnastics Jet-Setter" – Jordan Harvie (May 2004)
"All in a Day's Work" - Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs profile (March 2007)
"Catching up with... Larissa Lowing Libby" (August/September 2004)
Christine Peng-Peng Lee interview (April 2011)
"A Passion for Performing" - Christine Peng-Peng Lee profile (June 2005)
Gael Mackie profile (July/August 2011)
"Canadian Standout" – Gael Mackie profile (January 2003)
"Pride for Family and Canada" – Charlotte Mackie profile (November 2006)
"Sudden Impact" - Victoria Moors interview (January/February 2013)
"Making Tracks" - Scott Morgan profile (December 2013)
Isabela Onyshko profile (July/August 2014)
"10 Questions with Carol-Angela Orchard" (May 2011)
Jackson Payne interview (September 2011)
"Pegg Much More Motivated" – Dominique Pegg profile (March 2010)
"Plante in Bloom" – Amélie Plante profile (June/July 2003)
"Staying Power" – Heather Purnell profile (May 2003)
"Enriched" - Kate Richardson profile (May 2001)
"Stage Flight" - Yvonne Tousek update (November 2010)
"Uneven Parallels" – Kate Richardson/Yvonne Tousek profile (March 2004)
"Confident Canadian" - Brittany Rogers interview (May 2012)
"Shooting Star" – Brittany Rogers profile (July/August 2007)
"Savona Surges into Recovery" – Jessica Savona short profile (October 2011)
"Work in Progress" – Sydney Sawa profile (September 2009)
"Holding Pattern" – Richelle Simpson interview (April 2004)
Richelle Simpson cover photo (January 2004)
Richelle Simpson center poster (June/July 2003)
"Canadian Diversity" - Hugh Smith profile (July/August 2013)
"Catching up with... Lori Strong Ballard" (June 2012)
Jennifer Wood update (June/July 2004)
"Stage Flight" - Yvonne Tousek update (November 2010)
"Veteran Presence" - Kristina Vaculik profile (July/August 2010)
Kristina Vaculik cover photo (April 2010)
"Canadian Conquerors" – Kristina Vaculik profile (September 2007)
Aleeza Yu two-page photo spread (May 2014)
To order back issues, or subscribe to the print and/or digital edition of International Gymnast magazine, click here.
e (July/August 2010)
Kristina Vaculik cover photo (April 2010)
"Canadian Conquerors" – Kristina Vaculik profile (September 2007)
Aleeza Yu two-page photo spread (May 2014)

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

 
Written by Admin    Thursday, 29 January 2015 09:54    PDF Print
Bilozerchev: 'We're All Part Of It'
(11 votes, average 4.64 out of 5)

Featured in an extensive interview in the current issue of International Gymnast magazine, Soviet gymnastics legend Dmitry Bilozerchev says it is not possible to measure his talent against today’s stars, including five-time world all-around champion Kohei Uchimura.

“Everybody is different,” says Bilozerchev, 48, who at age 16 dominated the all-around in his first world championships in 1983. (Uchimura's first came at age 20.)

The Soviet boycott of the 1984 Olympics and a serious leg injury derailed Bilozerchev the following two years, but he made a miraculous comeback to win the 1987 worlds.

“There were great gymnasts before me, and great gymnasts after me. And my time also had great gymnasts. And there will be great gymnasts later on. You cannot compare; we’re all part of it.”

Read “Bilozerchev Reflections,” the complete interview, in the January/February 2015 issue of IG. To subscribe to the print and/or digital editions, click here.

 
Written by John Crumlish    Thursday, 22 January 2015 21:51    PDF Print
Lee Finding Her Rhythm in Recent Comeback
(4 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

Canadian veteran gymnast Christine (Peng-Peng) Lee told IG that she is pacing herself in her recent return to competition for UCLA after a pre-Olympic knee injury kept her out of competition for two-and-a-half years.


Lee on beam for UCLA in 2015

"I’m not really putting pressure on myself to be perfect," said Lee following Monday’s meet against the University of Arizona at Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles. "There’s obviously a lot of things I can improve upon, and I think just trying to get back into the rhythm is the expectation I’m going for."

Lee, who was named Gymnastics Canada's International Athlete of the Year in women’s gymnastics for 2011-2012, was one of Canada’s top prospects for the 2012 Olympic Games in London. She finished 19th all-around at the 2011 world championships in Tokyo, and led Canada to a Games-winning team berth at the Olympic test event in London in January 2012.

In training at the Canadian championships in May 2012, Lee tore her left ACL. She served as honorary captain of the Canadian women’s gymnastics team at the London Olympics that summer, after which she enrolled at UCLA.

Lee missed the 2012-13 NCAA season while rehabilitating from the injury, and missed the 2013-14 season after she underwent revision ACL surgery in November 2013.

Thus far this season, Lee has competed on vault, uneven bars and balance beam.

"These routines are about half of what I was doing before, so I try to think of it as they are easy routines," said Lee, who is majoring in sociology and minoring in accounting. "My endurance and physical shape are there. I just need to go out and do it, just like I used to."

Lee performed solidly at UCLA’s first meet of the season, held January 12 at Oregon State University, but suffered major breaks on uneven bars on Monday. She is confident that she will regain consistency as the season progresses.


Lee on beam for UCLA in 2015

"I think I let the nerves get to me a bit," said Lee of Monday’s mistakes. "It’s a lot different being at home. It feels very anxious and very exciting, and I can do very well when I’m calm. I was so excited to compete in Pauley, and I need to learn how to get into my zone and compete at that level again."

Lee said she is preparing to return to all-around competition once she has put in more training on floor exercise.

"Right now it’s just keeping my knee healthy and saving up for the rest of the season," she said. "I haven’t done any hard landings on floor yet, and before I go out in a competition I’m going to do the hard landings first. It’s just to make sure my knee is protected. It’s not any hazard right now. My knee is very strong. It’s just getting the mental game there again."

Although Lee is focused on her UCLA season, she is not ruling out future international competitions including the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

"I have considered it," she told IG. "I would love to go to 2016. Right now I’m focusing on the season, but after the season, it would be great to do another world championships or go to Rio. That’s definitely a long-term goal of mine, and I’ve kept it in the back of my head."

International Gymnast magazine’s coverage of Canadian gymnastics includes:
"Gotta Dance!" – Sandra Botnen/Sasha Ivanochko profile (December 2004)
"Aiming to Top the Charts" - Maegan Chant interview (October 2013)
"Canadian Promise" - Ellie Black chat (July/August 2014)
"Canadian Diversity" - Ellie Black profile (July/August 2013)
"Black to Business" - Ellie Black interview (November 2012)
"Veteran Presence" – Nathan Gafuik interview (July/August 2010)
Madeline Gardiner, Anysia Unick and Victoria Moors cover photo (March 2011)
"Candid Canadians" - Madeline Gardiner interview (September 2011)
"A Gymnastics Jet-Setter" – Jordan Harvie (May 2004)
"All in a Day's Work" - Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs profile (March 2007)
"Catching up with... Larissa Lowing Libby" (August/September 2004)
Christine Peng-Peng Lee interview (April 2011)
"A Passion for Performing" - Christine Peng-Peng Lee profile (June 2005)
Gael Mackie profile (July/August 2011)
"Canadian Standout" – Gael Mackie profile (January 2003)
"Pride for Family and Canada" – Charlotte Mackie profile (November 2006)
"Sudden Impact" - Victoria Moors interview (January/February 2013)
"Making Tracks" - Scott Morgan profile (December 2013)
Isabela Onyshko profile (July/August 2014)
"10 Questions with Carol-Angela Orchard" (May 2011)
Jackson Payne interview (September 2011)
"Pegg Much More Motivated" – Dominique Pegg profile (March 2010)
"Plante in Bloom" – Amélie Plante profile (June/July 2003)
"Staying Power" – Heather Purnell profile (May 2003)
"Enriched" - Kate Richardson profile (May 2001)
"Stage Flight" - Yvonne Tousek update (November 2010)
"Uneven Parallels" – Kate Richardson/Yvonne Tousek profile (March 2004)
"Confident Canadian" - Brittany Rogers interview (May 2012)
"Shooting Star" – Brittany Rogers profile (July/August 2007)
"Savona Surges into Recovery" – Jessica Savona short profile (October 2011)
"Work in Progress" – Sydney Sawa profile (September 2009)
"Holding Pattern" – Richelle Simpson interview (April 2004)
Richelle Simpson cover photo (January 2004)
Richelle Simpson center poster (June/July 2003)
"Canadian Diversity" - Hugh Smith profile (July/August 2013)
"Catching up with... Lori Strong Ballard" (June 2012)
Jennifer Wood update (June/July 2004)
"Stage Flight" - Yvonne Tousek update (November 2010)
"Veteran Presence" - Kristina Vaculik profile (July/August 2010)
Kristina Vaculik cover photo (April 2010)
"Canadian Conquerors" – Kristina Vaculik profile (September 2007)
Robert Watson profile (July/August 2014)
Aleeza Yu two-page photo spread (May 2014)

 

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

 
Written by John Crumlish    Saturday, 10 January 2015 22:39    PDF Print
Kocian: 'Hard Work and Determination Pay Off'
(20 votes, average 4.55 out of 5)

U.S. gymnast Madison Kocian told IG that winning a team gold medal at last fall's world championships in Nanning inspired her for the challenges ahead in 2015.

"This past year has been the most rewarding year of my gymnastics career," she said. "My most satisfying moments in 2014 include being selected to the world championships team and winning team gold. These experiences really showed me that hard work and determination pay off in the end."


Madison Kocian (USA)

In qualifications at worlds, Kocian ranked 14th in the all-around standings. She did not advance to the 24-gymnast all-around final because only two gymnasts per country could, and she was fourth among U.S. gymnasts.

"The memories I made with my teammates in China will last forever, and I hope I will get the opportunity again to represent the USA at worlds in 2015," Kocian said.

Born June 15, 1997, in Dallas, Kocian trains at WOGA in Plano, Texas. Her coaches are French-born Laurent Landi and former Kazakh national team member Natasha Boyarskaya.

"Laurent coaches me on vault and bars, and Natasha coaches me on beam and floor," Kocian said. "I've had Natasha as a coach since Level 4, and Laurent started coaching me in Level 9."

Kocian tied for sixth place all-around at the 2009 Visa (U.S.) junior championships in her hometown, and finished fifth all-around and third on uneven bars at the 2010 Visa junior championships in Hartford.

In junior international competition, Kocian finished third all-around, first on vault and second on balance beam at the 2009 Top Gym meet in Charleroi, Belgium; and second all-around and third on balance beam at the 2011 City of Jesolo Trophy meet in Italy.

Kocian cites the diligence of her support team for enabling her to perform so efficiently on four apparatuses in Nanning, following an ankle injury.

Last summer Kocian placed second on uneven bars and fifth on balance beam at the P&G (U.S.) championships in Pittsburgh; and second on uneven bars and fourth (tie) on balance beam at the Pan American championships in Mississauga, Canada. She did not compete on vault and floor exercise at either meet.

"I give credit to my physical therapist and coaches for working with me to help me compete all four events again," said Kocian, who placed first on uneven bars at the City of Jesolo Trophy meet last spring. "My ankle healed and was continuously getting stronger, so my coaches paced my tumbling and vault to be ready for the worlds selection camp. While my difficulty wasn't at its best, I was excited to be competing all four events at worlds."

Kocian said she looks forward to restoring her routines and earning a place on the U.S. team at this fall's worlds in Glasgow.

"I will need to get my floor and vault difficulty back to the level they were before my injury," she said. "I believe improving my connection consistency on bars and beam will be key factors, as well. I will be focusing on my vault and floor difficulty this year. I also want to upgrade my beam dismount and bars connections."

After a productive competitive year, Kocian enjoyed celebrating the recent holidays with loved ones.

"I spent Christmas at home with my cousins and family," she said. "We always decorate Christmas cookies together and exchange presents. My family and I went to a friend's house to celebrate the New Year. It's nice to relax and enjoy the holiday season with family and friends."

Kocian said she wants to keep as she pursues her challenges in 2015.

"My New Year's resolution is to stay healthy, so I can accomplish my goals," she told IG.

International Gymnast magazine's recent coverage of U.S. female gymnasts includes:

"Lights, Camera, Baskett" – Kristina Baskett profile (June 2012)
Simone Biles cover photo, 2014 World Championships special issue (November 2014)
Simone Biles cover photo, 2014 Worlds preview (October 2014)
Simone Biles cover photo, 2014 U.S. Championships coverage (September 2014)
Simone Biles cover photo, 2013 U.S. Championships coverage (September 2013)
Biles interview (April 2013)
"Transition Year: - coach Aimee Boorman/Simone Biles profile (July/August 2014)
Gabby Douglas interview (September 2014)
"Gabby Gallery" – five-page Gabby Douglas photo gallery (November 2012)
"Gabbing with Gabby" - Gabby Douglas interview (October 2012)
Gabby Douglas four-page center poster (September 2012)
Gabby Douglas and Jordan Wieber on cover photo collage (July/August 2012)
Gabby Douglas cover photo and interview, 2012 American Cup coverage (April 2012)
Brenna Dowell cover photo, 2014 American Cup coverage (April 2014)
"Beaming at Chow's" – Norah Flatley profile (May 2014)
"Pittsburgh Princess" – Jazmyn Foberg profile (October 2014)
"True Original" – Kelly Garrison photo collage and update (March 2014)
"Expressing Herself" – Laurie Hernandez profile (October 2013)
Kytra Hunter cover photo, 2012 NCAA Championships coverage (May 2012)
"Texas Dreams' Junior Hit" – Bailie Key profile (May 2013)
"Valiant Effort" – Anna Li interview (January/February 2013)
"All-around Commitment" – McKayla Maroney interview (March 2014)
"Maroney on the Mend" – McKayla Maroney interview (January/February 2013)
"It's Showtime" – McKayla Maroney profile (May 2011)
Julianne McNamara photo collage and update (October 2014)
Katelyn Ohashi cover photo, 2013 American Cup coverage (April 2013)
"Belief System" – Elizabeth Price interview (April 2014)
Elizabeth Price cover photo and profile (January/February 2013)
Alexandra Raisman two-page center poster (January/February 2013)
"Retton's Rapture" – Mary Lou Retton photo collage and update July/August 2014)
"Focus Forward" – Kyla Ross cover photo and interview (November 2012)
Bridget Sloan cover photo, 2013 NCAA Championships coverage (May 2013)
Jordyn Wieber interview (March 2014)
"Tears to Triumph" – Jordyn Wieber interview (October 2012)
2015 NCAA Preview cover photo collage and report (December 2014)
2014 Pacific Rim Championships and NCAA Championships coverage (May 2014)
2013 World Championships special issue (November 2013)
U.S. junior cover photo collage and profiles (October 2013)
2012 Olympic Games special issue (September 2012)
2012 U.S. Olympic Trials coverage (July/August 2012)
2012 U.S. Championships coverage (June 2012)
2012 Pacific Rim Championships coverage (April 2012)

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

 


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