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Written by Amanda Turner    Tuesday, 26 November 2013 02:28    PDF Print
American Idol Winner Joins Skating & Gymnastics Show
(3 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

2013 American Idol champion Candice Glover will be performing at the upcoming Progressive Skating & Gymnastics Spectacular in Jamestown, N.Y.

2013 American Idol champion Candice Glover will be performing at the upcoming Progressive Skating & Gymnastics Spectacular, to be held Dec. 14 at Jamestown Savings Bank Arena in Jamestown, N.Y.

The gymnastics lineup includes world and Olympic champions Nastia Liukin and Jordyn Wieber, three-time Olympic champion Catalina Ponor, three-time world champion Beth Tweddle, world and Olympic medalist Jonathan Horton and 2013 world medalists Steven Legendre, John Orozco and Brandon Wynn.

Glover joins Disney stars Lucas Grabeel and Coco Jones as musical acts for the show. Glover's debut album, "Music Speaks," is scheduled to drop in February.

Skating stars in the lineup include world and Olympic medalists Elvis Stojko and Joannie Rochette along with U.S. champions Ashley Wagner, Ryan Bradley, Max Aaron, and Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir.

Tweddle also will be back on the ice with professional Daniel Whiston, who she paired up with to win Great Britain's "Dancing on Ice" show earlier this year. Tweddle, who announced her retirement earlier this year, recently was elected as the FIG's Athlete Representative for women's artistic gymnastics.

The Progressive Skating & Gymnastics Spectacular is set to broadcast on NBC on Sunday, Jan. 5, one day before the 2013 Olympic Trials & U.S. National Figure Skating Championships begin. The XXII Olympic Winter Games kick off Feb. 7 in Sochi, Russia.

Written by Amanda Turner    Monday, 25 November 2013 23:09    PDF Print
Hambüchen Headlines Star-Studded Field for Stuttgart World Cup
(9 votes, average 4.56 out of 5)

Fresh off his eighth and ninth world championship medals, German star Fabian Hambüchen headlines this weekend's FIG all-around World Cup in Stuttgart, where an impressive lineup of gymnasts from 15 nations also will compete in a team event. Pictured: Twelve-time world and Olympic medalist Aliya Mustafina (Russia) is part of an impressive roster in the DTB Pokal team competition.

Fresh off his eighth and ninth world championship medals, German star Fabian Hambüchen headlines this weekend's FIG all-around World Cup in Stuttgart, where an impressive lineup of gymnasts will compete in a separate team competition.

The Stuttgart World Cup is the first of four all-around events for the FIG's 2013-2014 season. The remaining events are Dec. 7 in Glasgow, the American Cup March 1 in Greensboro, and in Tokyo April 5–6. Each event carries a prize purse of 100,000 Swiss francs (50,000 for male and female each), with 15,000 for first place down to 1,000 for eighth place. The male and female gymnasts who win the most points for their placements in the four events win the overall World Cup series titles and a special trophy.

Hambüchen, who won the all-around bronze and high bar silver at last month's world championships in Antwerp, said the Stuttgart World Cup is his final major event for the year. Many of the gymnasts from Stuttgart will head to the Glasgow World Cup the following weekend, but Hambüchen said he needs a break.

"I won't be in Glasgow this year because it's just too much," he told IG. "I had a really long season without a break, and I need to relax a bit for next year. I will be back at the American Cup and maybe there is still a chance to win the overall title!"

The three-time Olympian, who has often suffered ill-timed injuries, said he feels healthy but needs the break after a long 2013. He suffered a hand injury in the spring that limited his performance at the European championships in Moscow, but returned to win his seventh German national title in May, plus all-around medals at the University Games in July and at the worlds in October.

"I'm feeling pretty good, but I know that my body needs some rest after Stuttgart," said Hambüchen, who also competes in Germany's Bundesliga and attends the University of Cologne.

The men's World Cup lineup includes world medalists Daniel Purvis (Great Britain) and John Orozco (USA), 2010 Youth Olympic Games champion Yuya Kamoto (Japan) and 2013 Tokyo World Cup champion Oleg Vernyayev (Ukraine). Half of the men's field in Stuttgart were top-eight finishers in Antwerp: Hambüchen (third, Brazil's Sergio Sasaki (fifth), Purvis (seventh), and Belarus' Andrei Likhovitsky (eighth).

"I think everyone will be very strong, but Vernyayev, Orozco and Purvis are my biggest competitors I guess!" Hambüchen said.

The women's competition includes world and Olympic medalist Larisa Iordache (Romania), defending champion Elizabeth Price (USA), former world champion Vanessa Ferrari (Italy), and German Olympian Elisabeth Seitz.

In addition to the FIG World Cup, the 31st DTB Pokal includes an accompanying team competition in Stuttgart featuring nearly 80 gymnasts from 15 countries. The outstanding field includes three-time world champion and four-time Olympic medalist Aliya Mustafina, two-time Olympic silver medalist Marcel Nguyen (Germany) and British stars Dan Keatings and Sam Oldham. China is sending exceptional teams that include two new world champions from Antwerp — uneven bars champion Huang Huidan and parallel bars world champion Lin Chaopan — plus world all-around medalist and 2012 Olympian Yao Jinnan (China).

The competition kicks off Friday at the Porsche Arena with the team qualification. The women's World Cup and men's team final take place Saturday followed by the men's World Cup and women's team final on Sunday.

External Link: Official Website

Read interviews with Fabian Hambüchen and Vanessa Ferrari, plus a profile on Andrei Likhovitsky, in the December issue of International Gymnastics Magazine. To subscribe or order back issues, click here.

31st DTB Pokal/FIG World Cup
Nov. 30-Dec. 1, Stuttgart

Women's Competitors
Briannah Tsang
Ruby Harrold
Elisabeth Seitz
Vanessa Ferrari
Carlotta Ferlito
Larisa Iordache
Giulia Steingruber
Elizabeth Price
Men's Competitors
Andrei Likhovitsky
Sergio Sasaki
Fabian González
Daniel Purvis
Fabian Hambüchen
Yuya Kamoto
Oleg Vernyayev
John Orozco

31st DTB Pokal Team Competition
Nov. 29-Dec. 1, 2013, Stuttgart

Women's Competitors
Elisa Hämmerle Austria
Olivia Jochum Austria
Jasmin Mader Austria
Casey Carvalho Canada
Stefanie Merkle Canada
Jordyn Pedersen Canada
Briannah Tsang Canada
Huang Huidan China
Tan Sixin China
Tan Jiaxin China
Wu Liufang China
Yao Jinnan China
Kim Bui Germany
Pia Tolle Germany
Michelle Timm Germany
Sophie Scheder Germany
Janine Berger Team Kunst-Turn-Forum Stuttgart
Annika Göttler Team Kunst-Turn-Forum Stuttgart
Sarina Maier Team Kunst-Turn-Forum Stuttgart
Lisa-Katharina Hill Team Kunst-Turn-Forum Stuttgart
Lisa Top Netherlands
Noël van Klaveren Netherlands
Yekaterina Kramarenko Russia
Aliya Mustafina Russia
Tatiana Nabiyeva Russia
Anna Rodionova Russia
Jessica Diacci Switzerland
Nicole Hitz Switzerland
Ilaria Käslin Switzerland
Sara Metzger Switzerland
Men's Competitors
Pétrix Barbosa Brazil
Lucas Bitencourt Brazil
Fellipe Ferreira Brazil
Henrique Flores Brazil
Victor Rosa Brazil
Leonardo Souza Brazil
Alexander Batinkov Bulgaria
Dragomir Peyev Bulgaria
Velislav Valchev Bulgaria
Cheng Ran China
Deng Shudi China
Lin Chaopan China
Liu Rongbing China
You Hao China
Kevin Antoniotti France
Guillaume Augugliaro France
Julien Gobaux France
Quentin Signori France
Dominick Cunningham Great Britain
Dan Keatings Great Britain
Sam Oldham Great Britain
Ashley Watson Great Britain
Helge Liebrich Germany
Andreas Toba Germany
Marcel Nguyen Germany
Daniel Weinert Germany
Sebastian Krimmer Team Kunst-Turn-Forum Stuttgart
Felix Pohl Team Kunst-Turn-Forum Stuttgart
Sascha Palgen Team Kunst-Turn-Forum Stuttgart
Alexander Maier Team Kunst-Turn-Forum Stuttgart
Toshiya Ikejiri Japan
Jumpei Oka Japan
Ryuzo Sejima Japan
Masayoshi Yamamoto Japan
Daniil Kazachkov Russia
Nikita Lezhankin Russia
Pavel Pavlov Russia
Dmitry Stolyarov Russia
Christian Baumann Switzerland
Benjamin Gischard Switzerland
Michael Meier Switzerland
Eddy Yusof Switzerland
Andrii Sienichkin Ukraine
Maxim Semyankiv Ukraine
Jacob Dastrup United States
Akash Modi United States
Paul Ruggeri United States
Donnell Whittenburg United States

International Gymnast magazine’s coverage of gymnasts competing in the DTB World Cup includes:

Fabian Hambüchen
"Just the Beginning" – photo review (June 2013)
cover photo, 2009 American Cup report (April 2009)
"All-Around Great Guy" - cover photo and profile (November 2007)
cover photo, 2007 European Championships report (June 2007)
center poster (April 2007)
"German Giants" - profile (May 2003)

Ruby Harrold
"European Brilliance" – interview (September 2013)

Larisa Iordache
center poster (June 2013)
"Growing Pains" – cover photo and profile (March 2013)
cover photo collage (July/August 2012)

Sam Oldham
Odham on cover photo collage (July/August 2010)
Oldham interview (June 2010)

John Orozco
"Ready to Rise Again" – center poster and profile (November 2012)
"Bronx Bomber" – interview (April 2012)

Elizabeth Price
"Full Price" – cover photo and profile (January/February 2013)

Daniel Purvis
"Nervous Purvis" – profile (November 2012)
"Pure Purvis" – interview (March 2012)
cover photo (November 2011)

Elisabeth Seitz
"Seizing the Moment" – interview (July/August 2011)

Giulia Steingruber
"Full Force" – interview (June 2013)
"A New Hit for the Swiss" – profile (December 2009)

To subscribe or order back issues, click here.

Written by Amanda Turner    Thursday, 07 November 2013 12:56    PDF Print
13 Countries Confirmed for 3rd Mexican Open
(5 votes, average 4.40 out of 5)

A mix of veterans and rising stars are on the roster for the upcoming 3rd Mexican Open, Nov. 28-30 at Acapulco's Fairmont Princess resort.

"For the 2013 Mexican Open we have confirmed 13 countries that are coming: Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Romania, Russia, Spain, Ukraine, United States and Uzbekistan," event organizer Estela de la Torre told IG.

On the roster is gymnastics' ultimate veteran, six-time Olympian Oksana Chusovitina (Uzbekistan), along with Olympians Jade Barbosa (Brazil), Vlad Cotuna (Romania) and Ksenia Afanasyeva (Russia). 2012 Olympic alternate Nikita Ignatyev (Russia) is also on the roster, as is Japan's Koji Uematsu, a parallel bars and high bar finalist at the 2010 Worlds.

2011 Pan American Games champion Jossimar Calvo (Colombia)

Afanasyeva, who missed the recent world championships due to minor ankle surgery, will make her return to competition in Acapulco, where she won the inaugural event in 2011. She recently participated at Mexico's "Gala of Stars" at the end of October and looked sharp (click here for video).

Rising talents Sabrina Gill (Canada), Zeng Siqi (China), Jossimar Calvo (Colombia), Elisa Meneghini and Ludovico Edalli (Italy), and Roxana Popa (Spain) are also on the roster. The United States is sending Josh Dixon, but hasn't yet announced which female gymnast will go.

Special guests are gymnastics legends Nadia Comaneci (Romania) and Svetlana Boginskaya (Belarus).

The competition consists of a senior all-around contest divided over two days, but also a junior tournament for men and women.

"This year I am very, very happy because we will have a Junior Cup for the second time, but this year it's going to be an International Junior Cup," said de la Torre, a 1980 Olympian. "We have confirmed teams from Brazil, Mexico and the United States."

The U.S. is sending the top four female gymnasts from August's junior national championships: Bailey Key, Lauren Hernandez, Amelia Hundley and Nia Dennis. Also competing in the International Junior Cup is Rebeca Andrade, Brazil's top hope for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

In addition to the competition, there will be a national coaching clinic on Nov. 26, with guest lecturers Stoyanka Dobreva Angelova, Cuban-American Yin Alvarez (coach and stepfather of Danell Leyva) and world and Olympic all-around champion Lilia Podkopayeva (Ukraine).

Angelova, a 1952 Bulgarian Olympian who immigrated to Mexico in 1971, coached generations of Mexican gymnasts, including de la Torre. The gymnastics facility at Mexico City's CDOM (Centro Deportivo Olímpico Mexicano) was named after her in 2010.

Mexican star Daniel Corral won't be competing in Acapulco, as he has resumed training toward his ultimate goal of a medal at the 2016 Olympics. He is reportedly trying to add .8 in difficulty to his parallel bars routine.

But Corral's historic silver medal on pommel horse at the 2013 Worlds in Antwerp has already boosted interest in gymnastics in Mexico, de la Torre said.

"Of course Corral is making history," she told IG. "All his great results in the Olympics in London 2012 (fifth on parallel bars) and the silver medal on pommel horse in Antwerp 2013 are pushing all the new gymnasts in our country to be like him. He is already a Mexican hero."

External Link: Official Website

3rd Mexican Open
Nov. 29-30, Acapulco

Women's Competitors
Jade Barbosa
Sabrina Gill
Zeng Siqi
Roxana Popa
Elisa Meneghini
Amaranta Torres
Ksenia Afanasyeva
Krystyna Sankova
To Be Announced
Oksana Chusovitina
Men's Competitors
Francisco Barretto
Joshua Stuart
Zhang Yang
Jossimar Calvo
Rubén López
Ludovico Edalli
Koji Uematsu
Kevin Cerda
Vlad Cotuna
Nikita Ignatyev
Yevgen Yudenkov
Josh Dixon

1st Mexican Junior International Cup
Nov. 28, Acapulco

Women's Competitors
Rebeca Andrade
Thauany Araujo
Flávia Saraiva
Raquel Silva
Paulina Campos
Nicole Castro
Andrea González
Cynthia Ruíz
Ximena Amezcua (B Team)
Katia Pérez (B Team)
Kenia Resendiz (B Team)
Karla Vielma (B Team)
Nia Dennis
Lauren Hernandez
Amelia Hundley
Bailie Key
Men's Competitors
Ângelo Assumpção
Lucas Cardoso
Ygor Reis
Yannick Santos
Arturo Flóres
Alejandro Gómez
Alejandro Navarro
Francisco Rojas
John Jacobson
Yul Moldauer
Kiwan Watts
Alec Yoder
Written by Amanda Turner    Friday, 25 October 2013 06:56    PDF Print
Schiltigheim Shifts Format for Third Edition
(5 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

Organizers of the International Tournament of Schiltigheim have shaken things up with a new team format for the third edition, taking place Saturday in the Alsatian city near the German border.

The previous editions of the Schiltigheim tournament (held in 2010 and 2012) were all-around and apparatus finals only. This year's contest features several returning gymnasts, including fan favorite Anna Pavlova (Russia), who won the all-around, vault, balance beam and floor exercise in 2012.

The team competition will include some concepts similar to the Pro Gym Challenge, held earlier this year in Pennsylvania, as well as the German Bundesliga. In Schiltigheim, 16 gymnasts representing 12 nations will be split into two teams, featuring four male and four female gymnasts each. The international field features mainly veterans, including 12 Olympians.

Belarusian legend Svetlana Boginskaya, who served as a coach for the international team at the Pro Gym Challenge, will be the coach for Team 1 in Schiltigheim. She told IG the format will be different than the Pro Gym Challenge which featured a USA team and a world team, skill-vs-skill matchup, and men and women competing against each other.

"Here it's a bit different," said Boginskaya, whose team includes Pavlova and six-time Olympian Oksana Chusovitina. "We have two teams and gymnasts will be doing full FIG routines getting FIG scores. The scores will not be shown to the public, and we will have flags with Team 1 and Team 2. The gymnast who gets the higher score will have the team's flag raised and will get the point. The girls will do two events and boys will do three, but it will be girl vs. girl and boy vs. boy. It should be fun!"

Two-time Czech Olympian Kristýna Pálešová, who won bars in 2012, told IG she is excited about the new concept.

"I love this idea of the new format," Pálešová said. "It's going to be so much more interesting for the crowd for sure, but even for all of us gymnasts who will compete here. One gymnast goes against another gymnast on the other team, on the same event. It's kind of like the Bundesliga competition for boys. I actually wish there were more competitions like this."

Spaniard Ignacio Losantos, who competed in Schiltigheim in both previous editions, will be the coach for team two, which boasts seven Olympians.

The host nation will be represented by world medalist Cyril Tommasone of Lyon (Team 1) and Johanna Cano of Marseille (Team 2).

External Link: Official Website

3rd International Tournament of Schiltigheim
Oct. 26, Schiltigheim, France

Team 1
WAG Oksana Chusovitina
WAG Vanessa Ferrari
WAG Kristýna Pálešová
WAG Anna Pavlova
MAG Andrea Cingolani
MAG Eleftherios Petrounias
MAG Paul Ruggeri
MAG Cyril Tommasone
Coach Svetlana Boginskaya
Team 2
WAG Johanna Cano
WAG Vasiliki Millousi
WAG Elisabeth Seitz
WAG Giula Steingruber
MAG Fabian González
MAG Tomás González
MAG Martin Konečný
MAG Fabian Leimlehner
Coach Ignacio Losantos
Written by Amanda Turner    Thursday, 17 October 2013 22:45    PDF Print
Nellu Pop: French Women Ready for Fresh Start
(13 votes, average 4.69 out of 5)

The French women are in the midst of completely overhauling their program, with Véronique Legras Snoek returning as head coach following the recent world championships.

The French women are in the midst of completely overhauling their program, a necessary step in order to bring the team back to the top ranks of women's gymnastics, assistant coach Dimitru (Nellu) Pop told IG this week.

In addition to the shuffling of the coaching staff, France's gymnasts will be allowed to stay with their original coaches instead of being required to move to the national training center, Pop said. And the French are getting back to work immediately, with a controlled test for 2016 hopefuls held last week after the world championships.

Former French head coach Eric Demay's contract was not renewed following the 2013 Worlds.

"In order for France to come back as a real force into the international hierarchy, we must change the system," Pop said. "The system of permanent relocation does not work in France. Thus, there's already been changes. There will be high-level national training centers, spread geographically, at INSEP, Marseille, Saint-Étienne, Dijon, Meaux and Toulon."

Following the recent world championships in Antwerp, Véronique Legras Snoek returned as the head coach for the French women's team, with assistant coaches regionally. Legras Snoek will be in Marseille, Pop at INSEP (Institut National du Sport, de l'Expertise et de la Performance) in Paris, and 1992 Olympian Marie-Angéline Colson in Saint-Étienne.

Former national team member Sophie Darrigade (36th all-around at the 1985 Europeans in Helsinki) was appointed the new women's program manager in August. (Her brother, 1992 and 1996 Olympian Sébastien Darrigade, is on the French men's national coaching staff.)

The contracts for former head coach Éric Demay and assistant coach Cécile Pellerin Demay were not renewed after Antwerp, which concluded several years of declining results since the husband-and-wife coaching pair took over the team in 2009.

France qualified to the team finals at the Olympics in 2004 (sixth) and 2008 (seventh). Under the Demays, the French women finished 11th at the 2010 Worlds, 10th at the 2011 Worlds and third at the 2012 Pre-Olympic qualification event, earning them a berth to the 2012 Olympics.

After a rash of injuries, France finished 11th out of 12 teams at the 2012 Olympics in London. In 2013, no French women were sent to the European championships in Moscow, and only two went to the world championships. National champion Valentine Sabatou had a disastrous qualification competition in Antwerp, scoring a 0.000 for a botched vault, 13.166 on uneven bars, 11.666 on balance beam and 12.833 on floor exercise.

2012 Olympian Mira Boumejian finished 52nd in qualification, nearly 5 points away from qualifying for the all-around final in Antwerp.

"What happened to the French women at the world championships in Antwerp? I really don't know," Pop said. "What I do know is that there is a new generation arriving next year, that France has very good coaches and that everyone will be concentrating their efforts to ensure that France qualifies to the 2016 Olympic Games!"

Claire Martin (Dijon) will be a senior in 2014

For several years, Legras Snoek had been assistant coach to Yves Kieffer, whose most successful pupils were 2004 Olympic gold medalist Emilie LePennec and world and European medalist Isabelle Severino. After accusations of abusive coaching from gymnast Chloé Briand that resulted in a lawsuit, the French Gymnastics Federation asked Kieffer to resign in early 2008. (Kieffer is now the head coach of the Belgian women's team, which just missed qualification to the 2012 Olympics by just over 1 point and had two gymnasts, Laura Waem and Gaelle Mys, qualify to the all-around final in Antwerp.)

Legras Snoek, who had served as assistant coach to Kieffer, took over as head coach until 2009, when the Demays returned to France to take control of the team. (Ironically, the Demays had coached in Switzerland from 2000 to 2007 until accusations of abusive coaching led to their dismissal.)

France is ready to implement a new system modeled after the programs of other successful western nations, Pop said, with the gymnasts allowed to stay with their coaches as they rise through the ranks. The gymnasts would train at their home clubs and meet regularly at national and regional training camps.

"There will be a system of periodic training camps, similar to the USA, Great Britain and Australia," Pop said. "The system would most likely resemble that of Australia."

The Romanian-born Pop, who formerly served as an assistant to Octavian Bellu through the 1992 Olympic Games, helped coached Ludivine Furnon to the silver medal on floor at the 1995 Worlds in Sabae, the first world championship medal for the French women.

France has the talent and coaching to once again be among the top teams in the world, Pop said. The best French finish in history was at the 1997 Worlds in Lausanne, where the team composed of Furnon, Severino, Elvire Teza, Cécile Canqueteau, Magalie Ruffato and Emilie Volle placed fifth, defeating the reigning Olympic champion U.S. team.

Pop said the controlled training, held Oct. 11-13 at INSEP, featured 27 hopefuls for the 2016 Olympics. Gymnasts also earned assignments for upcoming competitions, including the Combs-La-Ville and Elite Gym Massilia tournaments in France, and an upcoming junior tri-meet among France, Germany and Switzerland.

Clara Chambellant (Dijon)

Pop said Louise Vanhille (Saint-Étienne) and Claire Martin (Dijon) were absent from the camp as they already showed their readiness at July's European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF) in Utrecht.

"Louise and Claire didn't take part in the test because they were at the EYOF, so their preparation has already started," Pop said. "They are the best two gymnasts of their generation."

The group included a few gymnasts who will be seniors in 2014, plus 10 gymnasts born in 1999 and 10 in 2000. Several will be names to watch for in the next three years, Pop said.

"The control was of very good quality," he said. "It was Grâce Charpy, Maëlys Plessis, Farah Boufadene, Loan His and Clara Chambellant who gave a very beautiful performance. For the young ones born in 2000, it was Mélanie De Jesus Dos Santos and Oréane Léchenault who were the most impressive."

Pop told IG he is confident that the fresh start for France will bring positive results in the coming years.

"The emulation [of the Western system] is going to create competition [among the gymnasts and coaches]," he said. "The program will give rise to technical progression and motivation for coaches who can accompany their gymnasts for testing, instead of losing their gymnasts!"

External Link: French Gymnastics Federation


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