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Written by dwight normile    Wednesday, 18 February 2015 08:43    PDF Print
March IG to Feature Kohei Uchimura
(7 votes, average 4.43 out of 5)

IG recently secured an exclusive interview with Kohei Uchimura, who has strung together every major all-around title since 2009. Our feature on him, called "The Savior," appears in the March IG, which mails next week. Within the story, we did some math using his scores from the all-around finals during his six-year reign, and they are astounding. His average event score was 15.392. His average all-around total was 92.351. Besides vault, where virtually every all-arounder scores high, his best apparatus average was on floor exercise, with 15.530. His 'worst' was pommel horse: 15.105. So in that sense, he's like many other all-arounders. Just a lot better.

By now, most fans have seen Uchimura's floor exercise during the 2014 world all-around final. He stuck every landing, never appeared to break form, and even congratulated himself afterward with a fist pump. He knows how hard it is to do what he did. His 15.766 was the top floor score that day, as was his 9.166 E-score. It's that 9.166, however, that had most people scratching their head. Cut and paste that routine into the 1988 Olympics and it gets a 10.0, or maybe a 9.9 from the stingy judge. Here are some of the YouTube comments below that video.

How can you ever deduct this routine? … Really, judges, with all due respect, could you please explain those .8 in deductions? … That’s the cleanest floor routine I’ve seen in my life. … Absolute perfection.

We asked Uchimura about that 9.166, and this was his response: "I was not surprised. I think that I had some problems in my routine."

Was he just being politically correct? Even in slow motion that routine looked perfect. Which begs the question, What's the point of starting the execution score from 10 if achieving a 9.0 is almost impossible?

Regardless, Uchimura probably contradicted himself, at least a little, when we asked for his opinion about the current Code of Points.

"I think that the good point in the Code is finding new skills and combinations. However, I would like to get higher E-scores for beauty and elegance."

Was not his floor routine both beautiful and elegant? It may have been the best competitive men's floor exercise performance in history when you consider the level of difficulty these guys have to perform.

Uchimura opens up about several other issues in this story: fatherhood, frustrations and the best advice he ever received.

Also included in the March IG: Jessica Lopez profile; Alla Sosnitskaya interview; 10 Questions With Stella Umeh (prepare to be inspired!); 10 Things to Like About Simone Biles; a tribute to long-time photographer Jeff Sipsey; and much more.

 
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.

 


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