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Written by Amanda Turner    Thursday, 18 December 2008 17:55    PDF Print
Ostapenko Moves to Russia
(1 vote, average 5.00 out of 5)

Oleg Ostapenko, former head coach of Ukraine and Brazil, will be the new junior women's coach for Russia, the Russian Gymnastics Federation announced Thursday.

The federation announced that Ostapenko will begin working under new head coach Alexander Alexandrov, who returned to Russia last month after working for 15 years in Texas.

Ostapenko had returned to his native Ukraine last month after seven years as head coach of Brazil. He was reportedly to begin coaching the Ukrainian women's team in January.

"Oleg Ostapenko has returned to Ukraine — this is the first step of the return of our best people," said Ukrainian men's head coach Igor Korobchinsky at a press conference in November.

Ostapenko will begin his new role in Russia on Jan. 8, during the first training camp of the new year.

Ostapenko was the personal coach of 1992 double Olympic champion Tatiana Lysenko, 1990 Goodwill Games champion Natalia Kalinina and 1999 world all-around silver medalist Viktoria Karpenko. He also helped guide Lilia Podkopayeva to world and Olympic gold in 1995 and 1996.

External Link: Russian Gymnastics Federation

IG Online Related Features:
Ostapenko Back in Ukraine (Nov. 29, 2008)
Alexandrov Returns to Russia (Nov. 11, 2008)

Written by Christian Ivanov    Thursday, 18 December 2008 10:05    PDF Print
Jovtchev New President of Bulgarian Federation
(3 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

Jordan Jovtchev performs on rings at the 2008 World Cup Final in Madrid

Five-time Olympian Jordan Jovtchev was elected president of the Bulgarian Gymnastics Federation on Thursday in a unanimous vote.

Jovtchev, 36, was elected unanimously by delegates of the federation's general assembly.

"Thank you for your confidence. It was time for change," he said. "My objective is the management of bringing in new faces. I have a lot of views that I will share with the governing council. The most important is to create normal conditions for training."

Jordan Jovtchev and Krasimir Dunev (right), new leaders of the Bulgarian Gymnastics Federation

1996 Olympic high bar silver medalist Krasimir Dunev was elected secretary general of the federation.

Bulgaria was one of the top gymnastics nations until the 1990s. The majority of top coaches and former gymnasts have emigrated for better opportunities abroad. Both Jovtchev and Dunev moved to the United States after the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, but returned to Bulgaria in the past few years.

Jovtchev won the silver medal on still rings at the World Cup Final, held Saturday in Madrid. He has said he plans to continue to compete at least through 2009.

At the 2007 World Championships, the Bulgarian men finished 21st and the women 24th of 24 teams.

"We must identify potential talents," Jovtchev said. "For this we will rely a lot on the State Agency for Youth and Sports. We will also look for sponsors."

One of the top hopes is dual Bulgaria-U.S. citizen Eddie Penev, 17, who plans to attend and compete for Stanford University.

"It is not easy to forecast when we have a world-class competitor," Jovtchev said. "We must be patient. Only then can we be successful."

The general assembly also elected 11 other members to a governing council. New heads of the technical committees are Todor Todorov (men) and Tsvetana Dobreva (women). Other members of the council are Ilko Girov, Anton Grechki, Veselin Petrov, Dimitar Mitev, Irina Runyashka, Snezhana Stoyanova, Slayvyan Teofilov, Daniel Slavov and Nikola Nikolov.

Milko Tankushev will remain as head coach of the men's program, and wife Neli Tankusheva will be head coach for the women.

The general assembly voted on a 2009 budget of 1.183 million levs ($864,800 USD).

Written by John Crumlish    Thursday, 11 December 2008 16:55    PDF Print
Liukin 'So Ready' for New Goals
(6 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

Nastia Liukin (U.S.) practices during podium training at the 2008 Olympic Games, held in Beijing in August.

Winding up a year that included an all-around victory at the Olympic Games, several television appearances and a cross-country tour, American Nastia Liukin told IG this week that she is looking forward to training for 2009 competitions as she reflects on 2008.

"I'm not even sure where to start!" the 19-year-old Liukin said of her most memorable moments of 2008. "I have had the most amazing experience of my life these past few months, but that can't even compare to the actual Olympic Games!"

Following her all-around victory at the Olympics in August in Beijing, Liukin appeared on talk shows "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," "Late Night with Conan O'Brien," "The View," and "The Oprah Winfrey Show" and most recently acted on the hit drama "Gossip Girl." She traveled across the U.S. as a performer in the 37-city Tour of Gymnastics Superstars, after which she visited France and Russia.

"I went to Marseille, France, to do a gymnastics exhibition and then straight to Moscow for (2000 Olympic all-around champion) Alexei Nemov's annual Gala," said Liukin, a Moscow native who resides in Parker, Texas. "I got to stay in Moscow for a few days and visit friends and family as well. After Moscow, we decided to stop in Paris for a few days. I loved it! I have always wanted to go there, so I am so happy I finally got the opportunity."

This month, Liukin launched Nastia Gold, her own line of clothing with Vanilla Star Jeans. The five-time Olympic medalist is now traveling around the U.S. to promote her line. Earlier this week she was honored at a Dallas Mavericks basketball game, "which was a blast, as my dad and I are huge fans of the Mavs," she said.

Liukin's coach and father, Valeri Liukin, won the all-around silver medal, plus team and high bar gold medals, at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul. Her mother, Anna Kochneva Liukin, tied for the gold medal with clubs at the 1987 World Championships of rhythmic gymnastics.

This weekend, Liukin will attend the 13th annual Valeri Liukin Invitational that her club (WOGA in Plano) is hosting, followed by the Dallas Cowboys-New York Giants football game. "So, life has definitely been crazy, but so much fun," Liukin said.

Liukin will perform in the fourth annual Skating and Gymnastics Spectacular, Dec. 23 in South Dakota before heading home to Parker. "I will be home for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day," Liukin said. "Then for New Year's (Eve), it is a family tradition to spend it with our closest family and friends. I haven't missed a single New Year's with my family."

Although Liukin has not competed since Beijing, she plans to resume regular training in January and attend a U.S. team training camp at the end of January.

"As far as my competition plans go, I'm not quite sure," she said. "We are taking it one step at a time. I haven't been home too much, which is the one thing that I wish I could change. I never thought I would say it before, but I miss being in the gym seven hours a day. I am so ready to be back training and getting ready for next year. The Visa (U.S.) Championships are going to be in Dallas in 2009, so I am looking forward to competing in front of a home crowd!"

Liukin said her successes in 2008 will motivate her for the challenges she will face in 2009.

"2008 was an incredible year for me," she told IG. "I couldn't have done it without so many people, especially my parents. My dad was more than half of the reason I achieved my ultimate goal. My mom wasn't my coach, but she was my other side. She was the support side of 'Team Liukin.' Also, (U.S. team coordinator) Marta Karolyi — I have so much respect for her and what she does. Without her, I wouldn't have had a chance to try to accomplish my dreams. She always made me believe in myself, especially when times were tough. As 2009 is coming close, I am creating new goals and dreams, and getting really excited about it. Gymnastics is what a have big passion for, and I know I always will!"

External Link:

International Gymnast magazine's 2008 coverage of Nastia Liukin includes:
December 2008: "Nastia's Dream Comes True" (Kids Klub feature)
November 2008: "Thought Process" (Liukin interview); "Following Nastia & Shawn" (photo gallery); "10 Questions with Anna and Valeri Liukin"
October 2008: Olympic Games special issue; Liukin on cover; Liukin center poster
September 2008: Liukin on cover collage, Olympic preview
July/August 2008: U.S. Championships coverage, U.S. Olympic Trials coverage
June 2008: "10 Questions with Nastia Liukin"
May 2008: Pacific Rim Championships coverage
April 2008: Liukin on cover, American Cup coverage

To subscribe to IG Magazine or order back issues, click here.

Written by Admin    Wednesday, 10 December 2008 06:23    PDF Print
World Cup Final Lineup Lacks 3
(1 vote, average 5.00 out of 5)

He Kexin (China)

All but three spots have been confirmed for this weekend's World Cup Final in Madrid, Spain, the FIG told IG Wednesday.

The FIG is awaiting confirmation from Brazil's Jade Barbosa on women's floor exercise, from Greece's Dimosthenis Tambakos on still rings and from Chile's Enrique Gonzales on men's vault.

Spain's Naomi Ruiz may take Barbosa's spot in Sunday's floor exercise final. No gymnasts are listed as alternates for the still rings and men's vault final.

From 1971 to 1990, the FIG held a World Cup for all-around and apparatus every four years, except for back-to-back Cups in 1979 and 1980 to reset the schedule.

The FIG launched a biennial World Cup Final for apparatus only in 1998, after the increase in popularity of apparatus-only competitions. Gymnasts earn points through their placements at designated World Cup competitions, as well as Olympic Games, world championships and continental championships.

The 2008 World Cup Final, the sixth for apparatus only, will be the last one. The FIG elected not to hold additional World Cup Finals because of the difficulty it has had locating hosts for the event.

The FIG also has experienced trouble securing the attendance of some top gymnasts at the World Cup Final. Some of the top qualifiers have retired, while others are not in peak shape months after the world championships or the Olympic Games.

Most of the gold medalists from the 2008 Olympics will be absent. The Chinese men, who took seven of eight golds in Beijing, are not sending any Olympians.

The U.S. Olympians, including Olympic all-around champion Nastia Liukin and balance beam champion Shawn Johnson, also declined their invitations.

The Chinese women, however, are sending five of the six members of their gold-medal team from the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Cheng Fei is the top qualifier on vault, balance beam and floor exercise. Olympic uneven bars champion He Kexin is the second qualifier to the bars final.

Olympic floor exercise champion Sandra Izbasa (Romania) will compete in Madrid on balance beam and floor exercise.

2008 World Cup Final Roster
Dec. 13-14, Madrid, Spain

* Awaiting confirmation

Women's VT
1. Cheng Fei CHN
2. Yelena Zamolodchikova RUS
3. Jana Komrskova CZE
4. Ariella Käslin SUI
5. Dorina Boczogo HUN
6. Aagje Vanwalleghem BEL
7. Elsa Garcia MEX
8. Wong Hiu Ying Angel HKG

Uneven Bars
1. Daria Zgoba UKR
2. He Kexin CHN
3. Jana Sikulova CZE
4. Yang Yilin CHN
5. Anastasia Koval UKR
6. Jiang Yuyuan CHN
7. Koko Tsurumi JPN
8. Daniele Hypolito BRA

Balance Beam
1. Cheng Fei CHN
2. Sandra Izbasa ROM
3. Li Shanshan CHN
4. Yulia Lozhechko RUS
5. Daniele Hypolito BRA
6. Lauren Mitchell AUS
7. Daria Zgoba UKR
8. Sanne Wevers NED

Women's Floor Exercise
1. Cheng Fei CHN
2. Sandra Izbasa ROM
3. Jiang Yuyuan CHN
4. Suzanne Harmes NED
5. Daniele Hypolito BRA
6. Yelena Zamolodchikova RUS
7. Koko Tsurumi JPN
* Jade Barbosa BRA
Alt: Naomi Ruiz ESP

Men's Floor Exercise
1. Diego Hypolito BRA
2. Anton Golotsutskov RUS
3. Eleftherios Kosmidis GRE
4. Wajdi Bouallegue TUN
5. Alexander Shatilov ISR
6. Jeffrey Wammes NED
7. Jordan Jovtchev BUL
8. Kohei Uchimura JPN

Pommel Horse
1. Krisztian Berki HUN
2. Louis Smith GBR
3. Robert Seligman CRO
4. Zhang Hongtao CHN
5. Prashanth Sellathurai AUS
6. Daniel Keatings GBR
7. Donna-Donny Truyens BEL
8. Saso Bertoncelj BEL

Still Rings
1. Yuri van Gelder NED
2. Alexander Vorobyov UKR
3. Jordan Jovtchev BUL
4. Regulo Camona VEN
5. Yan Mingyong CHN
6. Irodotos Georgallas CYP
7. Konstantin Pluzhnikov RUS
* Dimosthenis Tambakos GRE

Men's Vault
1. Anton Golotsutskov RUS
2. Jeffrey Wammes NED
3. Thomas Bouhail FRA
4. Yevgeny Sapronenko LAT
5. Diego Hypolito BRA
6. Isaac Botella ESP
7. Matthias Fahrig GER
* Enrique Gonzales CHI

Parallel Bars
1. Yann Cucherat FRA
2. Feng Zhe CHN
3. Samuel Piasecky SVK
4. Valery Goncharov UKR
5. Vasileios Tsolakidis GRE
6. Hiryuki Tomita JPN
7. Manuel Carballo ESP
8. Yosuke Hoshi JPN

High Bar
1. Aljaz Pegan SLO
2. Philippe Rizzo AUS
3. Igor Cassina ITA
4. Epke Zonderland NED
5. Yann Cucherat FRA
6. Christoph Shärer SUI
7. Hiroyuki Tomita JPN
8. Mosiah Rodrigues BRA

Written by Amanda Turner    Tuesday, 09 December 2008 14:48    PDF Print
Brazilian Federation Aims to 'Clean Up' Sport's Image

Vicélia Florenzano congratulates Jade Barbosa on her all-around bronze medal at the 2007 World Championships. Florenzano plans to retire in January after 18 years as president of the Brazilian Gymnastics Confederation, and her replacement aims to repair the relationship with Barbosa.

The Brazilian Gymnastics Confederation needs to work on cleaning up the sport's image after its post-Olympic scandals, said new president Maria Luciene.

Luciene was elected president of the BGC on Sunday, taking over the post held by Vicélia Florenzano since 1991.

Luciene, president of Sergipe Gymnastics Federation and vice president of the BGC, defeated Marco Martins, president of the Brasilia Gymnastics Federation, by 13 votes to five.

After the Olympic Games in Beijing, team member Jade Barbosa accused the coaching staff of forcing the gymnasts to train excessively, which caused or aggravated injuries. Veteran team members Daiane dos Santos and Lais Souza supported Barbosa's complaints.

Oleg Ostapenko, head coach of the women's team from 2001-2008, recently ended his contract with Brazil and returned to Ukraine. Irina Ilyashenko, also a native of Ukraine, has taken over as coach of the Brazilian women's team.

Luciene said she intends to repair the relationship between the federation and the three gymnasts, all of whom are recovering from injuries.

"Dialogue is the best way. We know what's going on, but the problems are fixable," said Luciene, whose three-year term begins in February. "We know the responsibility of caring for our athletes, and we want to meet with them to solve all the problems."

The Brazilian Gymnastics Confederation is composed of 18 state federations, which each had one vote in Sunday's election in Curitiba.

"The first steps from now on will be reviewing existing projects," Luciene said. "Preparing for the Olympic cycle but also the Pan American Games, and train the technical committees. The CBG must be in line with the federations because they are the link between the confederations and the club."

Florenzano will retire in January after 18 years as president of the BGC, more than half of its existence. Florenzano, who also served as president of the Pan American Gymnastics Union and as a member of the FIG Executive Board, received the International Order of Merit from the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame in 2007.

"There's nothing left in my power to do," Florenzano said of her retirement. "I have a lot of people to thank — I was privileged to stand for a long time with people on my side who helped me, supported me. I think the feeling [of moving on] is the same as letting a child leave the nest. We cry, laugh, pray."


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