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Written by John Crumlish    Friday, 14 November 2008 06:35    PDF Print
'Completely Different' Sims Heads to Utah
(1 vote, average 5.00 out of 5)

Chloe Sims (Australia) at the 2006 Commonwealth Games

After bypassing the 2008 Olympics, Australia's Chloe Sims told IG she is a "completely different person to who I used to be" as she prepares to compete for the University of Utah.

"I am so honored to be even considered for the team," said Sims, who this week announced her intention to compete for Utah. "Though if you have to ask, I have always had to work on my teamwork, and at times I would get so involved in being my best that I forget the people around me. But I am a completely different person to who I used to be, and aside from the fact that I am a bit of a show pony, I know that everyone at Utah will have my full support on and off the field. Or floor, so to speak."

Born Aug. 25, 1990, in Toowoomba, Queensland, Sims finished first all-around at the 2005 Australian junior championships, and first all-around at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne. She was a member of Australia's 11th-place team at the 2007 World Championships in Stuttgart, where the team qualified for the 2008 Olympic Games by virtue of its top-12 finish.

Sims subsequently withdrew from the Australian national team and did not try out for a spot on Australia's Olympic team. She said she does not regret this choice.

"At the time I found myself stuck in a situation where pursuing the ‘ultimate' wasn't going to be a positive outcome for my health," Sims told IG. "And although it stung a little to even hear of the Olympics, I realized that there is so much to do in life other than it. So I got off my butt and started a new chapter."

Sims said she chose the University of Utah, the current roster of which includes 2004 Canadian Olympian Gael Mackie and 2008 German Olympian Daria Bijak, for several reasons.

"Although I had offers from other colleges in America, I had known that Utah had a strong team and world-class facilities," she said. "I wanted to be a part of such an amazing atmosphere. Besides, red (one of Utah's school colors) is the best color."

Sims, who hopes to enroll at Utah in January 2009, said she is undecided about a major.

"I am going to start with business management," she said. "However, being a gymnast, I'm torn between that and becoming a coach. I have so many things that I want to accomplish professionally, so I try not to put too many boundaries up. Because I end up breaking them down if I don't like them."

Written by John Crumlish    Thursday, 13 November 2008 06:32    PDF Print
Kozich Not Counting Down to Retirement
(1 vote, average 5.00 out of 5)
Alina Kozich (Ukraine)

Two-time Ukrainian Olympian Alina Kozich, who is scheduled to compete at this weekend's DTB Cup in Germany, told IG she has no immediate plans to retire.

"As long as I have the desire and I like what I'm doing, I'm going to perform," said Kozich, who will turn 21 on Dec. 16.

Following a lackluster performance at the Beijing Olympics Games in August, Kozich took a training break. She returned to competition at the Glasgow Grand Prix, a World Cup event held Oct. 17-18, where she won the gold medal on floor exercise and the bronze medal on balance beam.

"It was a surprise because I wasn't training hard and I wasn't ready," she said. "But I am up for the challenge."

Kozich is scheduled to compete Friday at the DTB Cup in Stuttgart, along with teammates Anna Kalashnyk, Anastasia Koval and Daria Zgoba.

Coached by Sergei Butsula, Kozich is a native of Kiev. She won the gold medal on uneven bars at the 2002 Junior European Championships, and won the all-around title at the 2004 European Championships. She took the bronze medal in the all-around and on floor exercise at the 2007 Europeans in Amsterdam, and this past spring she won the silver medal on beam at the Europeans in France.

Kozich, who said she is glad that audiences still appreciate her elegant gymnastics style, has not committed to training for the London 2012 Games. She said she cannot predict when she will retire.

"I don't want to plan for the future," she told IG. "But at the moment, because I have strength and desire, I will train."

Alina Kozich is featured in the following issues of International Gymnast magazine:
"Kozich is Closing In" - profile (August/September 2002)
2003 World Championships special issue (October 2003)
"Patience and Virtue" - Ukrainian team interview, including Kozich (November 2003)
Kozich center poster, 2004 European Championships coverage (June/July 2004)
2004 Olympics photo gallery (November 2004)
2006 World Championships photo gallery (December 2006)
Kozich cover photo, 2007 European Championships coverage (June 2007)
2007 World Championships preview (September 2007)

Kozich on floor at the 2008 Glasgow Grand Prix

Written by Admin    Wednesday, 12 November 2008 02:41    PDF Print
Slovenians Celebrate Stukelj's 110th Birthday
Leon Stukelj

Slovenia is honoring one of its greatest citizens with the exhibition, "Leon Stukelj 1898-1999-2008," which opened Wednesday on what would have been the gymnastics legend's 110th birthday.

Olympic medalist Miroslav Cerar officially opened the exhibition in Stukelj's hometown of Novo Mesto. Stukelj, who died in 1999 just shy of his 101st birthday, was the first Slovenian to win an Olympic medal.

Stukelj won a total of six Olympic medals, half of them gold, including the all-around title in Paris in 1924.

The exhibition is a continuation from a display first set up in 1998 in honor of Stukelj's 100th birthday, and includes a collection of his medals, awards and other memorabilia.

New to the exhibition are Stukelj's Olympic medals and a number of other awards, as well as documentary material about the 100th birthday celebration in 1998, creator Zdenko Picelj said.

Picelj noted that in Stukelj's time, the glory and spirit of the Olympic Games did not involve money or endorsements.

In 1996, Stukelj attended the Olympic Games in Atlanta as the oldest living Olympic champion. He was inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame in 1998.

In 2000, Stukelj was named Slovenia's Athlete of the Century.

External Link: Stukelj at the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame

Written by Amanda Turner    Wednesday, 12 November 2008 00:58    PDF Print
Alexandrov Returns to Russia
(1 vote, average 5.00 out of 5)
Alexandrov lends a hand to Natalia Kalinina at the 1990 Goodwill Games

Former Soviet women's head coach Alexander Alexandrov will take over as head coach of the Russian women's team after 15 years in the United States.

Alexandrov's return should boost the struggling Russian team, former pupil Svetlana Boginskaya said Wednesday.

"It will take some time," Boginskaya told IG. "He is a great coach and strong leader."

Alexandrov will be the new head coach of the Russian women's team, taking over for Viktor Gavrichenkov.

Alexandrov was the personal coach of gymnastics legend Dmitry Bilozerchev, who won the 1983 world all-around title at age 16. In January 1989, Alexandrov was named head coach of the Soviet women's team, which won gold at the 1989 and 1991 Worlds, and the 1992 Olympic Games.

He moved to the U.S. in 1993, and has coached at several clubs in Texas. At Karolyi's Gymnastics and Brown's Gymnastics in Houston, he used his expertise to build basics in young gymnasts who went on to international fame, including Dominique Moceanu and Carly Patterson.

Boginskaya, a three-time Olympian and 1989 world all-around champion, called Alexandrov her favorite coach, and said she expects him to have an impact again in Russia. The Russian women had a disappointing Olympic Games in Beijing, placing fourth as a team and winning no individual medals.

"First he will work on finding a team of right people for the national coaching staff and bringing back the discipline and the respect of coaches and gymnasts," said Boginskaya, who also lives in Houston. "It will not be easy, but he has been there before and he knows what it takes to get back on top."

External Link: Russian Gymnastics Federation

Written by Amanda Turner    Tuesday, 11 November 2008 03:58    PDF Print
Yang Wei Defends 'Lavish' Wedding to Yang Yun
(1 vote, average 5.00 out of 5)

Newlyweds Yang Yun and Yang Wei on the cover of Chinese Cosmopolitan Bride

2008 Olympic all-around champion Yang Wei defended his recent nuptials to Yang Yun, after criticism surfaced that the event was too lavish.

After a long engagement, Yang and Yang held a seaside wedding Nov. 6 in the coastal city of Sanya, Hainan Province.

Chinese Internet criticism, however, surfaced when reports that the bride wore a wedding dress valued at more than $5 million, and that the newlyweds were staying at a $5,000-a-night suite in Hainan. The dress reportedly was loaned from a Japanese designer.

Yang Wei, 28, responded to the criticism in his blog this week. The pair had waited to hold their wedding until after the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, where Yang led his team to gold and captured the all-around title. He was the 2006 and 2007 world all-around champion.

"Without Yang Yun's encouragement, I may not have been able to cope during 2008, much less achieve my Olympic dream," Yang wrote on his blog. "Having borne this huge pressure with her, I pledged to hold a romantic wedding for her. As a man, I felt it my responsibility."

Yang Yun, a double bronze medalist at the 2000 Olympic Games, has worked as a reporter, actress and model. She performed in the 2006 Disney film "Stick It."

Yang Wei wrote that he was grateful to friends and sponsors for their help organizing the wedding.

"Actually this was their way of expressing their love for us," Yang said.


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