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Written by dwight normile    Wednesday, 03 January 2018 14:12    PDF Print
Emma Malabuyo Eager For 2018
(5 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

The January/February 2018 issue of International Gymnast includes a feature on Emma Malabuyo, who made a great comeback in 2017 after sustaining a sprained lateral collateral ligament while vaulting in 2016. That injury prevented her from competing in the 2016 P&G Championships, but she still made the junior national team, an exclusive club of only eight gymnasts.

A California native, Malabuyo moved in 2013 to Texas Dreams, where she is coached by Kim Zmeskal-Burdette and her husband, Chris Burdette.

Last July she won the U.S. Classic in Illinois.

“That was a very big win for me because we were competing with the seniors and I added a lot of new skills,” says Malabuyo, who is a senior this year. “And it was my first time winning a competition.”

At the 2017 P&G Championships, she placed second all-around in the junior competition to Maile O’Keefe. She also placed first on floor exercise.

In September both juniors were sent to the International Junior competition in Japan, where O’Keefe and Malabuyo placed 1-2 in the all-around, respectively, and Malabuyo won floor exercise again.

Says Zmeskal-Burdette: “Emma is chomping at the bit to play with the big dogs (in 2018), and I’m excited to stand by her side in this pursuit!”

A photographer’s dream, Malabuyo makes her gymnastics look easy. And she’s not afraid to use her entire body to express herself on floor exercise.

“Her smile is definitely her secret weapon!” Zmeskal-Burdette says.

New National Team Coordinator Valeri Liukin has taken notice as well.

“She is very expressive and can definitely set herself apart on floor and beam,” he says. “At the same time, she is a very calm and a mentally strong athlete.”

Read the full story in the January/February 2018 issue. To subscribe to the print and/or digital edition or to order back issues of IG, click here.

 
Written by John Crumlish    Monday, 01 January 2018 11:54    PDF Print
Croatia's Tin Srbić: 'I Can Fight To Stay No. 1'
(4 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)



Featured in the December 2017 issue of International Gymnast magazine, world high bar champion and Croatian Athlete of the Year Tin Srbić told IG he will need to continue progressing to stay at the top. Srbić, pictured here at a press conference after returning home to Zagreb, was treated to corrective laser eye surgery by the Croatian Olympic Committee, which named him its 2017 Male Athlete of the Year.

Featured in the December 2017 issue of International Gymnast magazine, world high bar champion and Croatian Athlete of the Year Tin Srbić told IG he will need to continue progressing to stay at the top.


Tin Srbić (Croatia) during the high bar final at the 2017 Worlds in Montreal

"I can fight to stay No. 1 only if I improve myself even more," Srbić said.

Srbić was the surprise winner on high bar at the 2017 World Championships in Montreal, where he scored 14.433 to defeat former world and Olympic high bar champion Epke Zonderland (14.233) and his Dutch teammate Bart Deurloo (14.200) on the final day of competition, October 8. Srbić, who just celebrated his 21st birthday on September 11.

"I didn't expect to win gold at my first world championships, at age 21," said Srbić, who qualified to the final in third place behind Zonderland and Switzerland's Pablo Brägger.

Srbić is the first world or Olympic gymnastics champion for Croatia and its third medalist overall. Filip Ude won silver medals on pommel horse at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing and 2014 World Championships in Nanning. Marijo Možnik also picked up the bronze medal on high bar in Nanning.

Srbić has racked up more awards since returning home to Zagreb. Most recently he was named "Male Athlete of the Year" for 2017 by the Croatian Olympic Committee on December 20. Track and field athlete Sandra Perković, the two-time Olympic champion in the discus throw, was named Female Athlete of the Year after winning her second world title in 2017. Srbić and Perković were also named Athletes of the Year by sports daily Sportske Novosti — which conducted a poll of more than 350 Croatian journalists — and by the Zagreb Sports Association.

In addition to his year-end honors, Srbić was treated to laser eye surgery (Lasik) by the Croatian Olympic Committee to correct his severe myopia, or nearsightedness. Prior to the surgery, Srbić had 20/125 vision (-1.75 diopter), but he competed without his glasses nonetheless.

The December 2017 issue of International Gymnast magazine includes "Montreal Milestones," a collection of profiles including Srbić, Giulia Steingruber (Switzerland), Diana Varinska (Ukraine), Jorge Vega (Guatemala) and Claudia Fragapane (Great Britain). To order back issues, or subscribe to the print and/or digital edition of International Gymnast magazine, click here.

 
Written by dwight normile    Thursday, 28 December 2017 11:34    PDF Print
Simone Biles' New Coach: 'I'm Not Going To Change [Her]'
(4 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

After working at WOGA for 10 years, former French gymnasts Laurent Landi and his wife, Cécile Canqueteau Landi, got a special surprise last fall. They became the new coaches of three-time world and 2016 Olympic all-around champion Simone Biles.


Laurent Landi coached Madison Kocian to two medals at the 2016 Olympic Games

It made sense for the Landis to become Biles' new coaches since they've known her for a long time. It also was a short drive from WOGA to Spring, Texas, where Laurent is also the director of the competitive program at World Champions Centre, the state-of-the-art gym that Ron and Nellie Biles built.

Following are excerpts from our exclusive interview with Laurent Landi, which will appear in the January/February 2018 issue of International Gymnast.

… "I feel very fortunate that I have to coach Simone, but it's not as easy as people may think. Aimee (Boorman) did such an incredible job in the past 12 years of Simone’s life. She brought her to the top and was able to accomplish something that's never been done before—the most successful gymnast in the U.S.—it's quite a resume."

… "I'm not going to change Simone Biles; I would be a very bad coach if I would do that. I will help her as much as I can with my technical knowledge and my understanding of how to plan and how to produce at the right time. I’m not going to change who she is."

Asked what he likes about Simone's personality.

… "That she doesn’t take herself too seriously. … At the end of the day, everybody that tries to fight for gold at worlds and Olympic Games, they're all almost as good as each other. But the difference is between the ears, and I think Simone is one of the best at that.”

And about Cécile's role as a coach.

"She's her coach on the beam. …I'll have an input, and I want the start value to be as high as possible. But … she needs to perform very well, and on beam, only a woman can know that…."

Read the the complete interview in the January/February 2018 issue. To subscribe to the print and/or digital edition or to order back issues of International Gymnast magazine, click here.

 
Written by John Crumlish    Sunday, 24 December 2017 08:17    PDF Print
Hribar: 'I Realized I Can Compete With Anyone'
(3 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)



International Gymnast Online's annual tradition of holiday-themed features continues with this spotlight on Slovenia's Lucija Hribar, a first-year senior whose 2017 highlights included a fourth-place finish in uneven bars at the World Cup of Varna and a 40th-place all-around finish in qualifications at the world championships in Montreal.

Lucija Hribar at the 2017 European Championships in Cluj

International Gymnast Online's annual tradition of holiday-themed features continues with this spotlight on Slovenia's Lucija Hribar, a first-year senior whose 2017 highlights included a fourth-place finish in uneven bars at the World Cup of Varna and a 40th-place all-around finish in qualifications at the world championships in Montreal.

"This year was quite successful," said Hribar, who has been coached by Nataša Retelj since the beginning of her career, represents Zelena Jama Gymnastics Association and trains in Ljubljana. "These are really nice and valuable experiences,""I learned a lot from them. It also helped me realize I can focus and do my best when in front of large audiences at the biggest competitions."

Hribar said that competing at five FIG World Challenge Cup meets, as well as worlds, enabled her to acquire the self-assurance she needs to continue performing well at the senior international level.

"Now I have even greater motivation and enthusiasm to practice," she said. "I realized I can compete with anyone. The next step is to perform more demanding elements, and I hope I can do that in the upcoming year."

After celebrating Christmas and New Year's Eve with her family "as always," Hribar intends to pursue several goals in 2018.

"I want to successfully complete my second year of high school, become even better in training, achieve some good results at competitions and stay healthy by avoiding any injuries," she told IG.

 
Written by John Crumlish    Thursday, 21 December 2017 20:36    PDF Print
Krasias: 'I Finally Had A Joyful, Successful Moment'
(2 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)



IG Online's annual series of year-end features continues with this profile on Michalis Krasias of Cyprus, whose financial struggles proved worthwhile as he advanced to the all-around final at this spring's European Championships in Cluj-Napoca, Romania.

IG Online's annual series of year-end features continues with this profile on Michalis Krasias of Cyprus, whose financial struggles proved worthwhile as he advanced to the all-around final at this spring's European Championships in Cluj-Napoca, Romania.

"Looking back on my 2017 competition year, my proudest accomplishment was of course that I made the all-around final at the European championships," said Krasias, who finished 24th in Cluj.

Krasias, who turned 23 in August, is completely self-funded and says he does not receive any support for training from the Cyprus Olympic Committee or Cyprus Gymnastics Federation. The island nation, with a population of just over 1 million people, has limited public funding for sports and is still recovering from the Eurozone debt crisis of 2012-2013. The Cyprus Gymnastics Federation only provided funding for him to compete in Cluj, but the world championships and other FIG events were out of reach for him.

"I have not any way to compete in any other international competitions," Krasias said. "The only support that I have in my sport career comes from my family, financially, and from my coach."


Michalis Krasias (Cyprus) at the 2017 European Championships in Cluj-Napoca, Romania

Krasias, who competed at the inaugural Youth Olympic Games in 2010 in Singapore, said he continues to face the prospect of limited competition prospects because he is self-funded.

"For example, the only thing that my federation made for me was that they covered my expenses for my trip in Cluj," he said. "They do not offer me any other support, neither financial nor any salary for my coach. Because of that, I was not able to compete in any Challenge Cups, neither before the Euros to get some experience, nor after the European Championships."

Krasias said he might have performed even better in Cluj had he competed more often in recent years. His elder brother, fellow gymnast Dimitris Krasias, 25, was able to fund their competition at the 2016 FIG World Challenge Cup in Cottbus.

"In the last four years I competed in only one Challenge Cup, and the expenses for that were covered by my brother," Krasias said. "This is such a shame. I mention these things to emphasize why my qualification to the all-around final at Euros was such an important accomplishment for me, because despite that I managed to get there. I finally had a joyful and successful moment that I needed so much, and that gave me the courage to continue my hard work."

Born in Nicosia to Cypriot parents, Krasias trains in Thessaloniki, Greece, where he has been coached by Christos Kasiolas since October 2016. Kasiolas previously coached Greek gymnast Ioannis Melissanidis, the 1996 Olympic floor exercise gold medalist and a 2000 Olympic vault finalist.

"He was the one who went to the Sydney Olympics with Ioannis Melissanidis," Krasias said of Kasiolas, who was not able to travel to Cluj. "He has helped me immensely."

Living in Greece also means that Krasias is not able to rely on his family for support in day-to-day tasks.

"I live alone," he said. "That it is a tough thing for a gymnast because I must cook, wash and do all the housework, too, and almost all my money is spent on that. I have no money for massages and other things that are so helpful for a gymnast."

Krasias, a third-year physiotherapy student, said his achievement in Cluj was more rewarding since because he spends much of his free time studying.

"What makes my road harder and my success in Euros bigger is that I am a student, too," he told IG. "A student-gymnast has a very difficult way of life. Without love and passion for your sport, it's impossible to get through it and compete at the elite level."

Next in the series: Slovenia's Lucija Hribar is still benefiting from her history-making performance at this fall's world championships.

 


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