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Written by Amanda Turner    Sunday, 03 December 2017 10:09    PDF Print
Azerbaijan's Gayibov Elected President of UEG
(1 vote, average 5.00 out of 5)

Farid Gayibov of Azerbaijan was elected president of the European Union of Gymnastics on Saturday at the 27th UEG Congress in Split, Croatia. Gayibov will succeed Georges Guelzec of France (pictured), who held the post for the past eight years.

Farid Gayibov of Azerbaijan was elected president of the European Union of Gymnastics on Saturday at the 27th UEG Congress in Split, Croatia, attended by the 50 member federations of the UEG.

Gayibov defeated Slovenia's Edvard Kolar, 28 votes to 20. Gayibov will become the fifth president of the UEG and will succeed Georges Guelzec of France, who held the post for the past eight years.

Gayibov, who was elected Vice President of the UEG's Executive Committee four years ago, is the first Azerbaijani to become president of a European sports federation. He received congratulations from the president of Azerbaijan on being elected to his post, which he will begin January 1.

"I will do my best," Gayibov told the Congress. "I think that I have enough experience to lead the UEG, but I cannot do it alone, it is not possible. That is why I need your help. I need your support. If the success comes, I'll work for Europe's benefit. Believe me, it does not matter where I am from, and what is my religion."

Bulgaria's Maria Petrova was elected president of the UEG's Rhythmic Executive Committee.

Gayibov, Secretary-General of the Azerbaijani Gymnastics Federation, has been working in gymnastics for 15 years. He has been the executive director of many gymnastics events held in Azerbaijan, which has invested considerably in its gymnastics program over the past few years. The capital city of Baku played host to the first European Games in 2015, as well as multiple World Cups, European championships and other international events in different gymnastics disciplines. In May, the UEG awarded the 2020 men's European championships to Baku.

As vice president of the UEG, Gayibov was responsible for marketing and promoting the sport. He said his focus will be on attracting more partners and sponsors.

"This year our partners from SmartScoring company did free scoring at rhythmic artistic, aerobic and acrobatic European championships," Gayibov said. "We received positive feedback for all of them. It means that we are improving after each held championship. They also for the first time realized a live TV project in the acrobatic and aerobic European championships and for the first time, people could watch live streaming in slow motion, live results via TV. They could see program of competitions, as well as ranking, all from one source."

Gayibov also said he is concerned with the countries struggling with a limited budget for sports, affecting the growth and popularity of the sport across the continent, and proposed creating new commissions to find ways to aid the countries lagging behind.

"But how can we help them?" he said. "They don't have money to send a gymnast to international competitions. They don't have money to buy apparatus or to invite international coaches. I think that we should create a special commission which will deal with these problems. Maybe we should also create another commission, where there will be representatives of big, strong gymnastics countries. It is possible. We know our problems, for which we may and will find the ways to solve."

Rudolf Hediger (Switzerland) was re-elected as a Vice President of the UEG Executive Committee. France's Michel Boutard and Greece's Athanasios Vasileiadis were also elected.

Russia's Andrei Rodionenko was also re-elected to the Executive Committee. Six-time Bulgarian Olympian Jordan Jovtchev, currently a member of the Executive Committee, lost his bid for re-election and for a vice presidential post.

In another close race, Norway's Tom Thingvold defeated incumbent Jacob Wischnia of Israel 26 to 22 in the election for Men's Technical Committee President.

Romania's Anca Mihăilescu-Grigoraş, running unopposed, was elected president of the UEG's Women's Technical Committee, replacing France's Yvette Brasier. Three-time world champion Maria Petrova of Bulgaria, also running unopposed, was elected president of the Rhythmic Technical Committee, succeeding Austria's Heide Bruneder.

Vladimír Zeman of the Czech Republic was re-elected president of the Trampoline Technical Committee. Romania's Cătălin Manu was elected president of the Control Authorities.

External Link: Russian Gymnastics Federation

2017 European Gymnastics Union Elections
December 2, Split, Croatia


Farid GayibovAzerbaijan28 Elected President
Edvard KolarSlovenia20

Vice President

Rudolf HedigerSwitzerland35Elected
Michel BoutardFrance28Elected
Athanasios VasileiadisGreece26Elected
Jordan JovtchevBulgaria18
Paolo FrisingLuxembourg16
Malin Eggertz ForsmarkSweden Withdrawn

UEG Executive Committee

Michel BoutardFrance Elected Vice-President
Athanasios VasileiadisGreece Elected Vice-President
Mircea ApolzanRomania32Elected
Erik Juhl MogensenDenmark27Elected
Paolo FrisingLuxembourg2421Elected
Sólveig JonsdottirIceland2219Elected
Andrei RodionenkoRussia2018Elected
Andrey FedarauBelarus2217Elected
Judit Körmendy-EkesHungary201410Elected
Álvaro SousaPortugal20169
Emre BağcıTurkey16168
Ignacio Marrón MoyaSpain20157
Jordan JovtchevBulgaria16108
Oleksandr SukhomlynUkraine873

Control Authorities Committee President

Cătălin ManuRomania50 Elected

Control Authorities Committee

Cătălin ManuRomania Elected President
Ivan LevakSlovenia32Elected
Walter SinnAustria2126Elected
Fatih TankTurkey1815

Men's Technical Committee President

Tom ThingvoldNorway26 Elected
Jacob WischniaIsrael22

Men's Technical Committee

Dmitry AndreyevRussia18Elected
Nikolaos ProviasGreece18Elected
Mario VukojaCroatia18Elected
Diego LazzarichItaly14Elected
James MayGreat Britain14Elected
Jean-François BlanquinoFrance8Elected
Benjamín BangoSpain5
Laurent BovetSwitzerland4
Josef TothAustria1
Şenol TürkdoğanTurkey1

Women's Technical Committee President

Anca Mihăilescu-GrigoraşRomania49 Elected

Women's Technical Committee

Anca Mihăilescu-GrigoraşRomania Elected President
Christine FrauenknechtSwitzerland17Elected
Hana LiškařováCzech Republic17Elected
Orna ShaiIsrael17Elected
Sabrina KläsbergGermany16Elected
Mairead KavanaghIreland12Elected
Marja RäisänenFinland11Elected
Patricia GiralFrance7
Zsuzsanna KalmárHungary6

Rhythmic Technical Committee President

Maria PetrovaBulgaria47 Elected

Rhythmic Technical Committee

Maria PetrovaBulgaria Elected President
Yelena NefedovaRussia17Elected
Dominique Muller-LauthFrance16Elected
Marina LobachBelarus15Elected
Elena AliprandiItaly11Elected
Evangelia TrikomitiCyprus11Elected
Pancracia Sirvent MutSpain8Elected
Marie MoltubakkNorway7
Natalya BulanovaAzerbaijan5
Blanka MlejnkováCzech Republic5
Alexandra MavrakisFinland3
Maria PachtaGreece3
Iuliia AtrushkevychUkraine2
Alexandra PiscupescuRomania2
Milena Reljin TatićSerbia2
Alenka Dragaš ŠpelaSlovenia1
Anna MrozińskaPoland1
Berfin Serdil OrsTurkey1
Gabriela Welkow-JusekAustria1
Roumiana BourovaBelgium0

Trampoline Technical Committee President

Vladimír ZemanCzech Republic49 Elected

Trampoline Technical Committee

Vladimír ZemanCzech Republic Elected President
Mariela StoychevaBulgaria14Elected
Konrad BojakowskiPoland15Elected
Luís NunesPortugal16Elected
Babette van WeteringNetherlands16Elected
Patrick SiegfriedGermany17Elected
Irina KaravayevaRussia19Elected
Hakan ÜnalTurkey4
Rusudan KhoperiaGeorgia8
Written by Amanda Turner    Wednesday, 22 November 2017 12:45    PDF Print
Former Doctor Larry Nassar Pleads Guilty, Admits Assault
(2 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

Former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar pleaded guilty to sexual assault in a Michigan courtroom Wednesday, admitting for the first time that he had sexually abused underage girls.

Former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar pleaded guilty to sexual assault in a Michigan courtroom Wednesday, admitting for the first time that he had sexually abused underage girls.

Nassar pleaded guilty to seven counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct for sexually assaulting girls and one adult in Michigan. Three of the charges applied to victims under the age of 13 years old and three applied to girls aged 13 to 15. As part of a plea agreement, other state charges were dismissed or reduced.

In February, Nassar appeared in court, clutching a Bible, and entered a not guilty plea to sexual assault charges. Nassar, 53, spoke in court Wednesday as for the first time he acknowledged sexually abusing girls, which often occurred as part of what he claimed was a valid medical procedure. His lawyers had previously defended his use of "intravaginal" massage to treat back, hip and pelvic pain. More than 140 victims have joined a lawsuit against him and USA Gymnastics.

"For all those involved, I'm so horribly sorry that this was like a match that turned into a forest fire out of control," Nassar said Wednesday. "I have no animosity toward anyone. I just want healing. ... We need to move forward in a sense of growth and healing and I pray [for] that."

The judge slammed Nassar's horrific abuse of the young athletes who trusted him and praised the bravery of the gymnasts who have come forward, calling them "superheroes."

"You used that position of trust that you had in the most vile way to abuse children," Judge Rosemarie Aquilina told Nassar. "I agree that now is a time of healing, but it may take them a lifetime of healing while you spend your lifetime behind bars thinking about what you did in taking away their childhood. You violated the oath that you took, which is to do no harm, and you harmed them selfishly. ... They are superheroes for all of America because this is an epidemic."

In July, Nassar pleaded guilty in federal court to three charges of possession of child pornography, with each count carrying up to 20 years in federal prison.

For decades, Nassar was a highly respected figure in gymnastics, working with USA Gymnastics, private clubs and with athletes at Michigan State University. He also volunteered with children and ran programs for children with autism.

Nassar quietly left USA Gymnastics in 2015, stating he was planning to run for the local school board. It has been reported that he was fired, but others with knowledge of the investigation have told IG he was allowed to formally submit a resignation. The first allegations of impropriety against Nassar were made public in September 2016 when former gymnast Rachael Denhollander shared her story with the Indianapolis Star. At the same time, a lawsuit filed in California by 2000 Olympian Jamie Dantzscher against Nassar and USA Gymnastics was released, further stunning the gymnastics community. More than 150 women later came forward to make the same allegations against Nassar.

USA Gymnastics had already faced severe backlash after an extensive series of reports by the Indianapolis Star, which in the summer of 2016 revealed the organization frequently failed to act on reports of sexual abuse by coaches, routinely dismissing complaints against dozens of coaches and not reporting the abuse to authorities. In March, USA Gymnastics President Steve Penny resigned under pressure from the U.S. Olympic Committee, reportedly receiving a seven-figure "golden parachute" as his contract was paid out.

USA Gymnastics faced massive backlash after it was revealed the organization did not immediately report accusations against Nassar, but waited several weeks to contact the FBI.

In addition to Dantszcher, 1999 world team member Jeanette Antolin and former rhythmic national champion Jessica Howard spoke publicly about the abuse, which Nassar disguised as treatment.

In the past month, 2012 Olympians McKayla Maroney, Alexandra Raisman and Gabriella Douglas came forward to acknowledge being abused by Nassar. Raisman, who shared her story with 60 Minutes, said she was unaware that Nassar had done anything wrong until 2015, when she was interviewed by the FBI. Raisman and others have said they now recognize that Nassar was grooming them in order to violate them, a tactic frequently used by sexual predators, and exploiting their Olympic dreams.

In total, 125 athletes formally reported assaults to the Michigan State Police. If they choose, they will be allowed to speak at Nassar's sentencing in January.

Watch: Kamerin Moore's account of being abused by Nassar

Watch: Aly Raisman calls Nassar a 'Master Manipulator'

Watch: Jamie Dantzscher, Jessica Howard and Jeanette Antolin – the first to come forward

Written by John Crumlish    Thursday, 09 November 2017 10:39    PDF Print
Männersdorfer: 'The Key to My Victory Was Self-Confidence'
(3 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

Although several factors contributed to Marlies Männersdorfer's all-around victory at last weekend's Austrian Championships, she told IG that faith in herself carried her to her first senior national title.
Although several factors contributed to Marlies Männersdorfer's all-around victory at last weekend's Austrian Championships, she told IG that faith in herself carried her to her first senior national title.

Although several factors contributed to Marlies Männersdorfer's all-around victory at last weekend's Austrian Championships, she told IG that faith in herself carried her to her first senior national title.

Marlies Männersdorfer (Austria) in Montreal

"Before the competition started I was pretty nervous, because I wanted to win and I wanted to get rewarded for my hard work," said Männersdorfer, whose score of 48.700 points placed her ahead of silver medal-winning defending champion Jasmin Mader (48.500) and bronze medalist Tamara Stadelmann (46.200) at the 71st annual Austrian Championships held November 4-5 in Mattersburg. "During the competition I was focusing on my performance, not on the outcome, so I stayed focused. The key to my victory was my self-confidence. I knew I did a lot of training this season and I felt pretty good that day, so I knew I had a chance to win."

Männersdorfer, who turned 20 on September 7, said important training and logistical changes contributed to her improvement from the 2015 and 2016 Austrian Championships, both at which she finished fourth all-around.

Until February 2015 she trained 2.5 hours daily, five days per week in Gänserndorf in northeast Austria, just outside of Vienna. "I knew this was not enough and the gym was too small," she said. "We didn't even have a floor area, and on vault we just had 15 meters to run."

Männersdorfer then got an invitation from the national coach to train with him in a larger gym. She accepted and moved to Vorarlberg in western Austria. Two months after Männersdorfer graduated high school in June 2016, she joined the army so she could focus on training.

The ability to concentrate on gymnastics has enabled Männersdorfer to train and compete with more frequency and composure.

"I participated in many more competitions this year than in 2015 or 2016, so I had the chance to gain experience and self-confidence," said Männersdorfer, who is coached by Daniel Rexa (vault, uneven bars and floor exercise) and Katka Rexa (balance beam, floor exercise) at Turnerschaft Jahn-Lustenau at LSZ Dornbirn. "This helped me during the Austrian Championships. Another contributing factor is that I'm doing specific strength training with the help of the coaches of the Olympic Center Vorarlberg."

Männersdorfer's performance in Mattersburg marked a 3.401-point improvement from her all-around result at last month's world championships in Montreal, where she struggled on uneven bars and elsewhere. She said an elbow injury in late July hindered her preparation and hurt her self-confidence heading into Montreal, but she was able to devote the time between Montreal and Mattersburg to bettering her routines.

"I had to take a break for three weeks, so I didn't get the chance to prepare very well for Worlds, and my bars routine wasn't practiced that well," Männersdorfer said. "I was under pressure because I knew I didn't practice as much as I would have needed to. After worlds, I had one spare month in which I could practice normally so I could improve not only my bars routine but also work on my execution."

Männersdorfer's win in Mattersburg has made her even more inspired for important international events of 2018.

"I'm so happy that I won this competition, and I got a lot of motivation out of it to prepare for the next season," she told IG. "I performed well, and therefore I am confident that I am capable of also doing so on Europeans or worlds next year."

Written by John Crumlish    Thursday, 19 October 2017 10:31    PDF Print
U.S. Junior Braunton Takes Aim At 'Big Dogs'
(4 votes, average 4.00 out of 5)

Featured in the October 2017 issue of International Gymnast magazine, U.S. 15-16 junior all-around champion Garrett Braunton told IG he is eager to add difficulty to his routines so he can keep pace with the best.

"Now that I know I can hit those routines, I need up up my D-scores a little bit so I can compete with some of the big dogs," said Braunton, who recovered from a back injury last fall to place first all-around, first on floor exercise and first on still rings in his age group at the P&G (U.S.) Championships in August.

Read a profile on Braunton in the October 2017 issue of International Gymnast magazine. To subscribe to the print and/or digital editions, or order back issues, click here.

Written by John Crumlish    Friday, 29 September 2017 08:10    PDF Print
Dudnik on Life: 'You Have To Push Yourself Through It'
(9 votes, average 4.11 out of 5)

Featured in the cover story of the October issue of International Gymnast magazine, former Soviet star Olesya Dudnik told IG that, through the triumphs and sorrows she has faced during and since her competitive career, she remains determined and faithful.

"Life gives you many things, and you have to push yourself through it," said Dudnik in a revealing sit-down interview with IG's John Crumlish in Marina del Rey, Calif., to where she recently relocated. "You cannot sit down and cry, and feel sorry for yourself. In my life, through many difficult situations, I think God has helped me, so I will continue the same way."

After a promising junior career, Dudnik, a native of Ukraine, made her biggest international marks in 1989. She tied for first place on balance beam at the 1989 European Championships in Brussels. She scored four 10s (compulsory floor exercise, optional vault, optional balance beam, vault final) at the 1989 World Championships in Stuttgart, where she finished first with her team, first on vault, second on balance beam and fourth on floor exercise.

On balance beam, Dudnik performed three combinations that are rare even today: side aerial, layout, layout; round-off, layout full; and round-off, flip-flop, triple twist dismount.

Dudnik said she was pleased to see her her side aerial, layout, layout series performed at the P&G (U.S.) Championships in Anaheim in August, which she attended.

"When I see girls do something like this, and they do it nicely, I am very happy because I understand it's not very easy," Dudnik said. "It takes hard work. By practice, you feel the elements. You feel everything, and it feels good. When people perform it now, it's what I felt before."

On floor exercise, Dudnik tumbled varied passes at the 1989 American Cup, 1989 European Championships, 1989 Soviet Championships, 1989 Worlds and 1990 Soviet Championships. Her glorious interpretation of Gershwin's "Second Rhapsody" in 1989 included an Arabian double front, 2-1/2 twist-punch barani and piked full-in at the 1989 Soviet Championships and her exuberant, poignant performance in the event finals at the 1989 Worlds.

Read "Higher Power," a four-page cover story in which Dudnik describes the personal, professional and spiritual challenges she has faced and overcome during her life, in the October 2017 issue of International Gymnast magazine. To subscribe to the print and/or digital editions, click here.


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