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Written by Amanda Turner    Wednesday, 02 August 2017 09:08    PDF Print
Both Downie Sisters to Miss Montreal Worlds
(2 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

British Olympians Becky Downie and Ellie Downie have both been ruled out of this fall's world championships with injuries.

British Olympians Becky Downie, 25, and Ellie Downie, 18, will both miss this fall's world championships as they recover from surgeries.

Becky Downie, shortly before her elbow injury in Cluj

Ellie Downie, who made history this spring by winning the European all-around title in April in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, underwent ankle surgery Monday. Her elder sister Becky is also recovering from surgery.

Ellie Downie injured her ankle during the British championships in late March, but put off surgery to compete at the European championships in Cluj, where she became the first British gymnast to win a major all-around title, and added the bronze medal on uneven bars and the silver on floor exercise.

Ellie Downie sent out a photo on Instagram on Tuesday from Princess Grace Hospital in London, labeling herself "done and dusted."

"We worked through [the injury] for Europeans because I had worked too hard to not show off my work I'd been preparing for so many months, and I would not change that decision I made for the world," wrote Ellie, who turned 18 on July 20. "Unfortunately this does mean I will not compete at the World Champs in Canada this year, but my eyes are now set on getting ready and fit for the Commonwealth Games next year and I'm very excited to be on the road to recovery and get fit again. A minor set back is a pathway for a major comeback."

Becky Downie, 2008 and 2016 Olympian and 2014 and 2016 European bars champion, suffered a torn ligament in her elbow in a fall off uneven bars during the finals in Cluj. The seven-time European medalist is recovering well, but only just starting to train on bars again.

The "Double Downies" were members of Britain's history-making squad at the 2015 World Championships in Glasgow, where the British women won bronze, their first world championships team medal. They were also teammates at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, where the team's fifth place was its best Olympic result since winning a bronze medal in 1928. Both gymnasts train at Notts Gymnastics Academy under coach Jo Miller.

External Link: British Gymnastics

Written by Amanda Turner    Tuesday, 01 August 2017 12:35    PDF Print
C'est Paris! France to Host 2024 Olympics; LA Takes 2028 in Deal
(2 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

Los Angeles will formally withdraw its bid for the 2024 Olympic Games in exchange for 2028, leaving the only remaining candidate city, Paris, to host the Olympics a century after it last did in 1924.

Los Angeles will formally withdraw its bid for the 2024 Olympic Games in exchange for 2028, leaving the only remaining candidate city, Paris, to host the Olympics a century after it last did in 1924.

Rome had dropped its bid for 2024 in October, but both Paris and Los Angeles had been heavily lobbying to host. Over the past several months, the International Olympic Committee has been in negotiation for a double allocation for 2024 and 2028, giving the later Olympics to the runner-up for 2024. After negotiations between the two cities, Los Angeles agreed to withdraw from the 2024 race in exchange for an unprecedented agreement of financial concessions from the IOC.

The financial concessions, which are reportedly in the range of $1.8 billion (€1.5 billion), give Los Angeles a share of sponsorship, upfront funding of $180 million (€150 million) for youth sports programs in the city, and the opportunity to pocket any potential budget surplus. The profit to the city has the potential to pass $2 billion (€1.7 billion), according to the Los Angeles 2024 Bid Committee.

"This deal was too good to pass up," Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said Monday.

The agreement has been dubbed a "win-win-win" for France and the United States—which have both recently lost bitterly contested bids to host the Games—and the IOC, which has found the bid process every four years to be an increasing headache. In addition to the financial incentive, the extra four years gives Los Angeles additional time to plan for the Games and make needed improvements, particularly in upgrading and expanding the city's subway system.

The Paris committee, meanwhile, was thrilled with the chance to host on the centenary of the last time the French hosted the Summer Games. The Olympics will return to both cities for a third time, as Paris also played host to the second Olympics in 1900, and Los Angeles held the games in 1948 and 1984.

"Paris and Los Angeles are two amazing global cities that are united in their support of the Olympic cause and we stand together now to help the Games thrive in 2024 and 2028," Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said.

The IOC had originally planned to vote for the 2024 host city at the IOC Session on September 13 in in Lima, Peru, where it is now expected they will formalize this week's agreement for 2024 and 2028.

Written by John Crumlish    Tuesday, 01 August 2017 08:03    PDF Print
Recent Victory Keeps Kimble On Track For U.S. Championships
(4 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

American Marvin Kimble told IG that winning the all-around title at the recent U.S. National Qualifier for this month's P&G (U.S.) Championships matched his expectations, but that he can do even better.

Marvin Kimble told IG that winning the all-around title at the recent U.S. National Qualifier for this month's P&G (U.S.) Championships matched his expectations, but that he can do even better.

Marvin Kimble (USA)

"I was very satisfied with my performance," said Kimble, who scored 83.55 points to best silver medalist Shane Wiskus (82.20) and bronze medalist Cameron Bock (81.70) at the National Qualifier held July 13-16 in Colorado Springs. "I just want to go out there and hit six for six, and I did, so I was happy about that."

Kimble finished third or better on four of the apparatuses in Colorado Springs, but said he is capable of better results on the remaining events — floor exercise and pommel horse.

"On floor I just made one big mistake which is easily fixable, and if I clean up on the landings I should be fine," he said. "On horse I just have to find my rhythm and I should be fine."

Kimble, a native of Milwaukee, trains with Belarusian Olympians Alexander Belanovski and Andrei Kan at Salto Gymnastics. He tied for eighth place all-around at the 2016 P&G (U.S.) Championships and finished eighth all-around at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials, and said his goal for the P&G Championships (August 17-20 in Anaheim) is to deliver a steady performance.

"I have a few upgrades I want to add on a couple events, but for the most part I want to stay consistent," he said.

Kimble said stability will be key for his further success at competitions up to and including the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

"I will have to be very consistent on all events to secure my spot for the 2020 Olympic team," he told IG. "At the end of the day it's all about hitting routines, and that's my main focus right now."

Written by Paul Ziert    Monday, 24 July 2017 11:58    PDF Print
Ziert Alert: Moving Forward
(2 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

Most of you know that I have been very disappointed with how USA Gymnastics has dealt with the scandal associated mostly with Larry Nassar and the complete disdain I have, and that everyone else should have, on how the USAG administration allowed and, in many cases, strongly supported the culture that allowed this to happen.

Valeri Liukin is the new leader of the U.S. women's team.

The culture must change. We must get rid of the people who have refused to speak up and who have actually wrongfully benefited from this culture. With that said, I want to congratulate Valeri Liukin for his integrity and openness through the difficult times. I have known and admired Liukin for many years, both as a competitive gymnast and as a professional one. He performed in at least 50 of my arena shows and always did maximum performances. I was thrilled to be invited to the Grand Opening of WOGA in Plano, Texas, and I have enjoyed watching the program grow. But my respect for him has risen sharply with how he dealt with the Vanessa Atler story. In a podcast, Atler spoke of the time she spent at WOGA in the late 1990s as emotionally challenging for her with being weighed three times a day, not being able to drink water during practice and other things that we have grown to know as commonplace in the former Eastern-bloc gymnastics culture. Liukin responded in People magazine with the following statement:

"I'm sorry Vanessa's experience wasn't positive during her time at WOGA. When asked to help during a difficult time for her, my intention as a coach was to help Vanessa achieve her dreams, not make her training situation more difficult. My recollection of working with Vanessa is different and includes many positive experiences. Coaching techniques and perspectives have evolved since then and I have grown as a coach through experience and expanding my knowledge. Today, I firmly believe an athlete's focus should be on training smart, with increased education In the areas of balanced nutrition, fitness, healthy lifestyle and communication. This is the basis for our approach in women's gymnastics."

If he had said "now" at the end of his last sentence, I would be overjoyed. I also wish he had added coaches and administrators to that focus statement. Nevertheless, Liukin did stand up and accept his accountability, admitting that he had made mistakes and did not deny her statements. And now we must wait to see if he can, in fact, make the changes that will fulfill his statement of how he wishes to establish the basis of approach because it's quite a change from the past.

Hence, Liukin is definitely a keeper. Now, who else is going to step up and admit the culture was completely toxic and must be changed? I hope we can hear from the other officers and administrative heads as well as board members who have participated in this unhealthy environment and have allowed injustices for personal gain. This cannot be only about sexual improprieties. The whole structure is faulty and must be changed. And, of course, USAG Chairman Paul Parilla must step down and the sooner the better. His conduct and absolute refusal to support transparency along with his denial of any wrongdoing are reprehensible.

This is for sure the best time ever to finally surround our wonderful athletes with an organization that will support and protect them as they work their way through our incredible sport! Remember, the federation works for us, so let's be sure to define our expectations of them and insist that they adhere to them. We cannot let the same people remain in charge of our sport. Anyone who defends the past must be removed. Who at USAG will be next to join the revolution?

— Paul Ziert, Publisher

Written by John Crumlish    Sunday, 23 July 2017 08:23    PDF Print
Mistakes Force Belgium's Meyers To Refocus
(3 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

Belgian gymnast Julie Meyers told IG that, despite her disastrous performance at this spring's European Championships in Cluj, Romania, she is in the process of improving and solidifying her routines for better results in the future.

Julie Meyers (Belgium)

"This summer I will keep on training very hard," said Meyers, who will turn 17 on August 17. "I will start with stabilizing my exercises from the European Championships, and after that I will add new elements where it's possible."

Meyers, a member of the ninth-place Belgian team at the 2016 Europeans in Bern, said she was not as prepared as needed for this year's Europeans. In Cluj, she scored just 45.732 for 58th place in qualification, with a low of 8.933 on balance beam. Her performance in Cluj was faulty, but she has already learned from it.

"Before the European Championships my exercises weren't always as stable as they should be," she said. "That is why I fell once on bars. But for beam, which was a real disaster, I first fell with something I normally never fall on, so after that I was quite in a panic, and then the rest was even worse. But I did learn that I [should] never give up too early and that I should always keep on having confidence in myself till the end."

Meyers said her status as a Belgian team reserve for last summer's Olympic Games in Rio has also contributed to her new level of determination.

"Since I was a little girl I wanted to go to the Olympics, and it's still my dream," she said. "Now I'm even more motivated for the Olympics in Tokyo because I was almost there in Rio."

Although the Belgian team includes several talented gymnasts, Meyers most admires two-time Swiss Olympian Giulia Steingruber, who won the 2015 European all-around title and placed third on vault at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

"I like her because she can jump very well on vault and floor, but she is also elegant," said Meyers of Steingruber.

Meyers said she has faith that her proficiency and leadership will continue to have value to the Belgian team.

"I don't think there is an apparatus on which I am especially good," she said. "I can go better for the all-around. They also say I am always there for my team mates and stand them by mentally."

International Gymnast magazine's coverage of Belgian gymnasts includes:

Julie Croket interview (December 2012)
"Gaining Confidence" - Croket profile (November 2010)
"Belgian Beauty" - Nina Derwael profile (June 2015)
"Axelle the Excellent" - short Axelle Klinckaert profile (June 2016)
"Rising Moonen" - Lynn Moonen profile (December 2004)
"Mighty Mys" - Gaelle Mys profile (October 2004)
"Making Her Way" - Aagje Vanwalleghem profile (August/September2004)
Laura Waem profile (August 2014)

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


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