IG Online offers more from behind the scenes at the 2009 World Championships, held Oct. 13-18 in London!
Enjoy these bonus scoops from London, and look for in-depth coverage including exclusive quotes in the December 2009 issue of International Gymnast magazine. Click here to subscribe today, and take advantage of our special worlds offer of only $10 for a digital subscription! Get it while it lasts!
Bridget Sloan (U.S.)
Sloan: 24/7 friend
Women's all-around champion Bridget Sloan of the U.S. expressed mixed emotions about leaving London and her American teammates.
"I'm very happy to be going home," Sloan said. "But at the same time, I really like being around the girls."
Sloan said she would especially miss Ivana Hong, an alternate on the U.S. team at last year's Beijing Olympic Games, for which Sloan competed and won a silver medal. Hong placed third on balance beam in London.
"I'm around Ivy 24/7," Sloan said. "She's my roommate and she's probably getting a little annoyed with me, but at the same time we love each other."
Sloan said she is prepared for the emotional letdown that comes after a major competition.
"It's one of those things, like after the Olympics," Sloan said. "It's that depressed stage where you're like, 'Man, I really want to go back.' I'll probably have that, but I'm very happy and excited about everything that happened here."
While in London, Sloan said she kept in touch with her friends in Indiana via the Internet from her hotel room. She said she looked forward to seeing them soon after her victory.
"I don't think a lot of them know exactly what I'm doing here," Sloan said, "but I think they'll get the hint when I go back."
Porgras: 'She's special'
Romanian national team coach Nicolae Forminte had only positive words for newcomer Ana Porgras, despite a fall from balance beam that dropped her to seventh place in the all-around final.
"Look at her," Forminte said, motioning to Porgras as she chatted with a Romanian TV crew. "That makes her special. She works hard. She trains hard and does it with pleasure."
Forminte said Porgras's performance in London was impressive, considering she had suffered a leg injury earlier this year.
"She was recovering for two or three months, so she worked on the secure parts of her body — bars, and easy movements on floor and beam, but not high difficulty," Forminte said. "I don't push her, because there are very few (Romanian gymnasts). Every year there are fewer and fewer, so it's important that we keep the gymnasts we have."
Ana Porgras (Romania)
Forminte: Code Challenge
Forminte said the Code of Points does not help Romania develop and retain many gymnasts.
"Now the scoring is open(-ended), so everyone tries to do many difficult combinations that take a lot out of the body," he said. "It's not easy to make many routines. There are two notes, Difficulty and Execution. To have good execution you have to do it many times, and when the difficulty is higher, it is not easy to do many times."
After winning the gold medal on floor exercise, Great Britain's Beth Tweddle said she hoped her performance was as memorable for the British audience as it was for her.
"Winning in front of the home crowd and not on my signature piece makes it one of the career highlights," said Tweddle, whose challenge for a medal on her best event, uneven bars, ended when she fell in qualifications. "The British crowds have always made their voices quite well known, and for them to see me win it instead of seeing the highlights on TV is really nice for them."
Tweddle said the support of her British teammates boosted her morale after her mistake on uneven bars, and motivated her for the floor exercise final.
"The spirit is always high, especially if you see someone down, whether it's on the girls' or lads' team," Tweddle said. "Louis (Smith) was one of the first to come up to me and say, 'Don't worry about it. You have floor to sort yourself out.' They're always there for you and we're always there for them."
Mackie: Going up
First-time worlds competitor Charlotte Mackie of Canada said her performance in London should lead to higher things.
"I feel pretty good," said Mackie, whose 28th-place all-around finish in qualifications designated her as fourth alternate for the all-around final. "I think I'm good with handling the stress."
Mackie, who turned 16 on Oct. 6, said she maintained her concentration during a long delay before her first event, floor exercise. Her tumbling passes included a piked full-in, triple twist, 1-1/2 twist through to double twist, and double pike.
"The first event was definitely nerve-wracking," said Mackie, who competed in the day's first subdivision. "It was kind of bad that we had to wait so long, but I just had to keep warm, staying focused and visualizing things in my head."
Mackie said she was disappointed with the mistake she made on uneven bars, where she put her hands down on her double front dismount.
"The dismount has been the opposite of what I did today," Mackie said. "Over-rotating is something I don't usually do, but I was kind of upset because I could have landed it."
The highlight of Mackie's routine on balance beam was a one-armed Onodi. She also performed a regular Onodi; front aerial; flip-flop, layout; switch leap, Kochetkova; and dismount series of flip-flop, flip-flop, double pike.
Mackie, the younger sister of 2004 Canadian Olympian Gael Mackie, said the chance to compete in London gave her motivation after a difficult past year. She broke two bones in her right foot last year, and switched gyms early this year.
"The past year has been about worlds," she said. "I really wanted to show what I can do."
Mackie said she is happy to be training under head coach David Kenwright and assistant coach Cathy Chapell.
"I think the coaching is a lot healthier and definitely more constructive," Mackie said. "I can work longer hours without breaking down, and I'm enjoying it again. It was up and down, but now it's definitely going up."
Veronica Wagner (Sweden)
Mackie said the London worlds gave her a new level of optimism, and a new perspective on the challenges ahead.
"I want to start with this and build up," Mackie said. "I want to get my routines cleaner, because judging here was really tough. They're really focusing on artistry, and that's something I'm pretty good at but want to improve more."
Wagner: 'It's hard to hold back!'
After earning the Swedish women's best worlds all-around finish in 55 years, 2004 Olympian Veronica Wagner said she continues to thrive, despite missing out on the 2008 Olympic Games.
"I love the sport, even if I'm not as good as I want to be and I don't like the rules changing all the time," said Wagner, who placed 21st in the all-around final. "Even my doctors didn't know if I could come back. I have competed in three competitions in two years, so I'm glad to be back."
Wagner's performance at the 2007 Worlds qualified her to compete at the 2008 Olympics, but the Swedish Olympic Committee declined to send her. She said she was pleased with her results in London, and can improve in future competitions.
"I trained really well these past few weeks, even though I'm not doing as much as I can," Wagner said. "I can do a better vault and better floor. Still, I went out of bounds on floor. It was a five-tenths deduction, because I flew. It's hard to hold back!"