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Written by Amanda Turner    Saturday, 08 November 2008 06:05    PDF Print
Tomita to Retire After 2008
(2 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

Hiroyuki Tomita in 2003
Japanese superstar Hiroyuki Tomita will retire after the upcoming World Cup Final in December, he said Saturday.

Tomita, winner of nine world and Olympic medals, said chronic shoulder and back pain led to his decision.

"I can't move my body as well as I want to anymore," said Tomita, who turns 28 on Nov. 21.

Tomita's generation led Japan back to prominence after a relatively fruitless decade in the 1990s, in which the once-powerful nation fell from the medal podium. Third in 1984, 1988 and 1992, the Japanese men finished 10th at the 1996 Olympic Games and fourth in 2000.

Tomita's Japanese team won an upset gold at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, the first Olympic team title for Japan in 28 years. Tomita helped Japan win silver at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, where he finished fourth all-around after falling on his still rings dismount.

Tomita, a native of Osaka, won all-around medals at three different world championships: gold in 2005, silver in 2006 and bronze in 2003.

He will finish his career after two more apparatus-only competitions: the Toyota Cup, Nov. 15-16 in Japan, and the World Cup Final, Dec. 12-14 in Madrid.

"I found it very difficult to continue my career as an all-around gymnast after asking myself again and again if I'll be able to perform the way I want to," he told newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun.

Takehiro Kashima, Tomita's teammate on the 2004 and 2008 Olympic team, also recently announced he would retire after the Toyota Cup. Like Kashima, Tomita says he plans a career as a coach.

Though Japan will miss its retiring veterans, it certainly found a bright new star this summer in 19-year-old Kohei Uchimura, the all-around silver medalist in Beijing. Uchumira won the Japanese national championships on Nov. 1. Both Tomita and Kashima skipped the competition to prepare for the Toyota Cup.

Hiroyuki Tomita in Beijing
Written by Admin    Sunday, 02 November 2008 22:52    PDF Print
Chusovitina Suffers Torn Achilles
(2 votes, average 3.00 out of 5)
Oksana Chusovitina (Germany)

Five-time Olympian Oksana Chusovitina (Germany) suffered a torn Achilles' tendon Sunday during the Swiss Cup in Zurich.

Chusovitina, 33, was injured while on floor exercise in the third round of the Swiss Cup. She will reportedly undergo surgery Monday in Basel, Switzerland.

Chusovitina is the oldest female gymnast competing internationally. She made her world championships debut in 1991 for the Soviet Union, winning two gold medals and a silver. She was a member of the gold medal-winning Unified Team at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, and competed for her native Uzbekistan at the 1996, 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games.

Chusovitina moved to Germany in 2003 to seek treatment for her then 3-year-old son Alisher, who was diagnosed in 2002 with leukemia. Alisher successfully underwent treatment at the University of Cologne hospital, and is now healthy and cancer-free. Chusovitina received German citizenship in 2006, and won the silver medal on vault at the 2006 World Championships and 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

Chusovitina also suffered a torn Achilles' tendon a decade ago, and underwent surgery and rehabilitation in Uzbekistan. She has told IG the subpar treatment she received caused her more problems in gymnastics than her increasing age or motherhood.

In Zurich, Chusovitina paired up with star teammate Fabian Hambüchen at the mixed-pairs Swiss Cup. The German duo was leading the competition after two rounds, despite Chusovitina's fall on her balance beam dismount.

Chinese gymnasts He Ning and Lu Bo went on to win the competition.

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Written by Amanda Turner    Saturday, 01 November 2008 10:47    PDF Print
Jovtchev Hangs In Through 2009
(1 vote, average 5.00 out of 5)

Jordan Jovtchev (Bulgaria)

Five-time Olympian Jordan Jovtchev (Bulgaria) will compete for one more year before hanging up his grips.

Jovtchev, 35, hopes to end his career on a high note in 2009 by winning medals at the Europeans in Milan and the World Championships in London, said Nikola Prodanov, current president of the Bulgarian Gymnastics Federation.

Jovtchev has won four Olympic medals — one silver and three bronzes — and 12 world championships medals, including four golds. A botched routine left him in eighth on still rings at the Olympics in Beijing.

"Dancho had intentions to retire after the end of the 2008 Olympic Games, but he didn't want to leave the sport this way — without a medal," Prodanov said.

Jovtchev finished second Wednesday at the Arthur Gander Memorial in Switzerland, his first competition since Beijing.

Jovtchev still plans to take over the Bulgarian Gymnastics Federation as its new president. It is expected he will be confirmed for the position this month.

Following the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, Jovtchev stayed in the U.S., coaching in Oklahoma and Texas. Jovtchev, his wife, Boriana, and their son, Jordan Jr., moved back to Bulgaria in 2007. He now divides his time between his native Plovdiv and the capital of Sofia.

Written by Admin    Saturday, 01 November 2008 08:03    PDF Print
Izbasa Back to Winning Ways
(1 vote, average 5.00 out of 5)
Sandra Izbasa (Romania) with her Olympic gold medal

With her post-Beijing break behind her, Olympic floor exercise champion Sandra Izbasa (Romania) is happy to be back to what she does best: competing.

"I miss the public, the competition hall, everyone who is there," she said. "I live with every flip... But mostly I miss competing, feeling the rhythm of the music, doing my job as best I can and then waiting for the applause to come."

Izbasa took a celebratory rest from competition after winning Romania's only gymnastics gold at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. The 18-year-old Bucharest native returned to competition this week, winning the Arthur Gander Memorial on Wednesday in Switzerland. She will pack in four more competitions over the next six weeks in what she calls a "hellish schedule."

Izbasa and teammate Flavius Koczi pair up Sunday for the mixed-pairs Swiss Cup in Zurich. She then heads to Japan for the Toyota Cup, Nov. 15-16, and returns to Europe for the Italian Grand Prix, Nov. 22 in Milan. She ends her year at the World Cup Final, Dec. 12-14 in Madrid.

"I have a hellish schedule," she said. "No, I'm not afraid because I've had plenty of rest. It's time I showed that my place is in the competition hall."

Romanian head coach Nicolae Forminte said Izbasa is his only gymnast currently in competition form.

"Anamaria Tamarjan and Gabriela Dragoi are recuperating [from injuries], and Sandra was the only one prepared to honor her invitation to the Grand Prix meets," Forminte said. "Andreea Grigore has a sprained ankle, and the other girls are still struggling to find motivation."

Source: ProSport

Izbasa on beam at the 2008 Arthur Gander Memorial

Written by Admin    Thursday, 30 October 2008 06:31    PDF Print
Kashima to Call It Quits
(1 vote, average 4.00 out of 5)
Kashima on high bar at the 2003 Worlds

Double Olympian and world champion Takehiro Kashima (Japan) announced he will retire after the upcoming Toyota International.

Kashima, a member of Japan's gold medal-winning team at the 2004 Olympics, said a chronic injury to his left elbow will prevent him from continuing his career. He plans to become a coach after his final competition, to be held Nov. 15-16 in Aichi Prefecture.

"Sometimes I don't feel like quitting, but I just can't maintain the strength and concentration I need to practice any more," Kashima, 28, told newspaper The Daily Yomiuri.

The veteran Kashima has been one of Japan's most graceful and successful gymnasts in recent history, with nine world and Olympic medals. At the 2004 Olympics in Athens, he helped secure Japan's victory. In August, he helped Japan win the silver behind China at the Olympics in Beijing.

Kashima made his world debut in 2002, winning the silver on pommel horse at the individual worlds in Debrecen, Hungary. At the 2003 Worlds in Anaheim, he helped Japan win the team bronze, tied for the gold medal on pommel horse and won the high bar title outright.

He also won the bronze on pommel horse at the 2004 Olympics and 2005 World Championships. The elbow injury will prevent him from continuing as a specialist, he said.

"I don't want to keep going at half-strength," he said.

Kashima wins pommel horse bronze at the 2004 Olympic Games


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