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Written by John Crumlish    Tuesday, 30 April 2013 14:01    PDF Print
IG Interview: Marissa King (Great Britain/Florida)
(8 votes, average 4.50 out of 5)

2008 British Olympian and University of Florida senior Marissa King closed her competitive career in successful style at the recent NCAA Championships, but she is not through with the sport just yet. Pictured: An emotional King celebrates Florida's national championship at the 2013 NCAA Championships in Los Angeles.

2008 British Olympian and University of Florida senior Marissa King closed her competitive career in successful style at the recent NCAA Championships, but she is not through with the sport just yet.

King on floor at the 2013 NCAA Championships

King, a native of Cambridge, England, turned 22 on April 20 – the day she helped Florida win the NCAA national team title for the first time, and the day after she finished in a four-way time for third place in the all-around. King won the NCAA national vault title in 2011 and the NCAA regional balance beam title in 2012. Earlier this season she placed first on balance beam, tied for first on floor exercise, and was third all-around at the NCAA regional qualifier.

Prior to enrolling at Florida, King trained at Huntingdon Olympic Gymnastics Club, where she was coached by Adam Folwell and Aneta Desalermos. She was a member of the British team that placed a then-historic best seventh at the 2007 World Championships in Stuttgart. King finished placed 42nd all-around in qualifications at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, where the British team was ninth. She competed on two events at the 2009 Worlds in London, where she finished 10th on vault in qualifications.

King, who is majoring in geography and minoring in mass communications, demonstrated an impressive skill level throughout her collegiate career. Her routines this season included a 1-1/2 twisting Tsukahara vault; Khorkina and double layout dismount on uneven bars; straight-body kickover front and flip-flop, whip on balance beam; and a double layout first pass and double pike last pass on floor exercise.

King is slated to compete in the Pro Gymnastics Challenge on May 10-11 in Bethlehem, Pa., competing on the "World" team alongside fellow Olympians Sam Oldham (Great Britain), Marcel Nguyen (Germany), Oksana Chusovitina (Uzbekistan), Jade Barbosa (Brazil), Anna Pavlova (Russia) and more.

Following the NCAA apparatus finals in Los Angeles, King chatted with IG about her career and where she wants to take herself next.

IG: How were you able to get and stay so fit through your senior year of collegiate gymnastics?

MK: Even in Beijing (2008 Olympic Games), I wasn't so aware of nutrition and physical health and looking after my body as much as when I came to college. Freshman year, I came in straight away from worlds (2009 World Championships in London). I went straight into the season and competed. Sophomore year, I was in pretty good shape. Junior year, I feel like I was in my least best shape since I've been at Florida, and over the summer I really looked after myself.

King on beam at the 2013 NCAA Championships

After coming second (in the NCAA team final) last year, I think that was a good drive to where I wanted to be in my senior year, and that showed in me physically, too, in my body shape. I came in from the summer probably the fittest I've even been in my entire life, actually. I felt incredible and I've had a phenomenal, inury-free season. I've had no taping of my ankles, no major rehab and no physical therapy that I had to have in previous years.

IG: How did you get yourself in the right mental state to go along with your best physical shape?

MK: I was hungry for success this year, and I was going to make sure that I was going to give my absolute all in my senior year. As well as being in my physical state, it was important to have the mentality that I needed to win a championship and get my team on the same page to do that, and to achieve the goal that we've been looking for since I was a freshman. It's been such a huge process in getting to be where we've gotten today, so that kind of showed physically, too, because I wanted to be a great example to where I wanted to get, especially in my senior year.

IG: Consistency seems to have been an issue for you at times, so what helped you develop consistency to the point where you could finish third in the all-around here?

MK: My whole career has been a bit on and off in a few events, but being a senior, I felt I had a bigger duty and a bigger role, being that leader and example and actively showing the underclassmen how it should be done. I felt like people were looking up to me so much more this year to lead this team and get us where we wanted to be. In elite (international level) I didn't really think about it, I just kind of did it. But in college you have more time to think about what you're doing, because you are doing fewer skills since the requirements are different. I had to train myself again to learn to do my skills and get them into the right technique where I could hit every time. I feel that I think so much more about my skills and routines in college than I ever did in elite, and that came through time and progress of training myself every day. I never thought about anything as much as I did in college.

There was one meet (this season), at Georgia, where I messed up on beam. I had hit all week and I didn't know why I was messing up on beam this season, whereas last year I was the anchor the entire season. I couldn't understand why I was messing up when all the time in the gym I was hitting. It was frustrating, but I had to get that mentality back, that mental toughness. I've been in gymnastics so long that it's not about the skills, or whether or not you can do it. It's about whether you train yourself mentally and prepare yourself to do what you need to do. That was a process I had to learn during the past couple of years in Florida.

IG: You were part of the British team's upward push that really paid off at last summer's Olympics in London. What do you hope you have contributed to British gymnastics?

King competing for Great Britain at the 2007 Worlds in Stuttgart

MK: I hope I have left something behind, in Florida and back in England, too. I hope I have been an inspiration to other gymnasts, because it was different coming from elite in England to college in America. I feel I've done the whole trip. I've done everything. It's possible to do anything if you put your mind to it. It's possible to win a championship with two falls (as Florida did at NCAAs) if you fight till the very end. It's possible to do anything you want; it just depends on how badly you want it. It's been a phenomenal road for me, and I hope that young people who have followed me have been inspired by what I've done. If they want something they have to put their heart and their all into it, and continue believing and having faith that it will all work out.

IG: Will you stay in Florida or go back to England?

MK: I have another year of school; I'm not graduating till next July. So I'll be staying in Florida, hopefully helping out with the team. I still want to be part of the program and help them in whatever they need, and hopefully see the success they'll have next year.

IG: Are you considering something performance-related that involves your gymnastics experience, such as Cirque du Soleil?

MK: I just talked to a woman who's working with Cirque du Soleil, and I'd love to join Cirque for a couple of years. I'd love to stay in acrobatics. I started gymnastics when I was 8, and I've been very fortunate that I have not had too many injuries. I don't feel the wear-and-tear on my body just yet, so I feel that, staying in shape, I could definitely do something like acrobatics or something active in the next few years. If not, I guess moving on into the working world and getting a real job! We'll have to see. I have a year to figure that out, and hopefully an opportunity will open up for me soon.

Read coverage of the 2013 NCAA Championships in the May 2013 issue of International Gymnast magazine; and “Royal Ambition,” a pre-Olympic interview with King, in the April 2008 issue. To subscribe order back issues, click here.

Written by Amanda Turner    Thursday, 28 March 2013 11:27    PDF Print
Five Take Titles at Doha World Challenge Cup
(10 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

Gymnasts from three continents were golden Thursday as competition continued at the 6th Doha FIG World Challenge Cup in Qatar.

The competition is the third of three consecutive weekends of FIG competition in March, following events in La-Roche-Sur-Yon, France, and Cottbus, Germany.

Phan Thi Ha Thanh (Vietnam)

Vietnam's Phan Thi Ha Thanh, the bronze medalist on women's vault at the 2011 World Championships, won gold in the final with a clean double-twisting Yurchenko and a layout Rudi (short landing but stood up). Romania Olympian Larisa Iordache took second with a double-twisting Yurchenko and simple Tsukahara full.

Switzerland's Giulia Steingruber, the top qualifier from Wednesday's qualification and gold medalist in La-Roche-Sur-Yon, landed an excellent layout Rudi but had too much power on her Tsuk full and stumbled back. North Korea's Ri Un Ha vaulted a strong double-twisting Yurchenko but crashed her Cheng Fei second vault.

China's Tan Jian, first on uneven bars in qualification, came out ahead again with a dynamic routine featuring a Hindorff to Gienger between the bars, Lin Li to Jaeger; Tkatchev to Pak; and a full-twistng double layout dismount.

Great Britain's Ruby Harrold won the silver with two original transition combinations — Maloney to Bhardwaj (Pak full) and Maloney-half to Zuchold — a Jaeger and double front dismount. Teammate Gabby Jupp, who won the all-around title at last weekend's British championships in Liverpool, took bronze with a very clean routine (Maloney to bail; Jaeger; full-twisting double layout) that earned the highest Execution score in the final.

Tan's teammate Zeng Siqi had a chance for a medal with a packed routine (Lin Li, Ling Jie to Jaeger; Pak salto; front giant 1 1/2 pirouette to Tkatchev) but crashed her undercooked full-twisting double.

Coached by world and Olympic champion Marius Urzica, two-time Romanian Olympian Flavius Koczi won the men's floor title. Koczi, who also won in La-Roche-Sur-Yon, tumbled all twisting passes but no double saltos: 2 1/2 to Rudi; 1 1/2 to double-twisting front; 3 1/2 twist to punch front full; triple twist.

Just .025 behind Koczi, Brazil's Arthur Mariano won the silver with four extremely clean passes (piked Arabian double front; double-twisting front to barani; 2 1/2 front full; 1 1/2 to Rudi) but had an awkward landing on his tucked full-in dismount. Slovakia's Rok Klavora won the bronze.

Olympic champions Krisztian Berki of Hungary (pommel horse) and Arthur Zanetti of Brazil (still rings) continued their reign with more gold in Doha. On pommel horse, Japan's Jumpei Oka grabbed the silver over Hungarian Olympic finalist Vid Hidvegi by .025.

China's Liao Qiuhua won the silver behind Zanetti, his third consecutive rings medal in Doha after gold in 2013 and bronze in 2011.

Separated by .05, Armenian gymnasts Artur Tovmasyan and Vahagn Davtyan finished third and fourth in the rings final. Former Armenian great Eduard Gevorgyan, a Soviet standout in the 1980s, is now the head coach for the Qatar men's team.

Two-time world champion Yuri van Gelder, who turns 30 on April 20, looked ready to challenge for the title until he fell on his full-twisting double layout dismount, ending up seventh.

Competition concludes Friday in Qatar with the remaining five finals.

International Gymnast Magazine Related Features:
Vid Hidvegi: “Making the Grade” (profile) – March 2009
Larisa Iordache: cover photo and interview – March 2013
Rok Klavora: "Rok, Solid" (profile) - November 2009
Giulia Steingruber: profile – December 2009
Yuri van Gelder: "Power Trip" (profile) - January/February 2009; and center poster (June 2008)
Jeffrey Wammes: "Comebacks Complete" (profile) - October 2007; and "Destiny''s Child" (profile as a junior) - August/September 2002

To subscribe or order back issues, click here.

External Link: Official Website

6th Doha FIG World Challenge Cup
March 28, Doha, Qatar

Women's Vault FinalDENDScoreAverage
1. Phan Thi Ha Thanh 5.8 9.150 14.950 14.825
6.2 8.600 0.1 14.700
2. Larisa Iordache 5.8 9.200 15.000 14.675
5.2 9.150 14.350
3. Giulia Steingruber 6.2 9.025 15.225 14.662
5.2 8.900 14.100
4. Ri Un Ha 5.8 9.050 0.1 14.750 14.437
6.4 7.725 14.125
5. Teja Belak 5.3 9.125 0.1 14.325 13.725
5.3 7.825 13.125
6. Kirsten Beckett 5.3 7.725 0.1 12.925 13.512
5.2 8.900 14.100
7. Adrian Nunes 5.3 7.750 13.050 13.300
4.6 8.950 13.550
8. Jordyn Pedersen 5.0 8.600 13.600 13.125
4.4 8.250 12.650
9. Aljazy Al-Habshi 4.6 7.625 12.225 12.025
4.4 7.425 11.825

Uneven Bars FinalDENDScore
1. Tan Jiaxin 6.6 8.250 14.850
2. Ruby Harrold 6.3 8.200 14.500
3. Gabrielle Jupp 5.5 8.425 13.925
4. Giulia Steingruber 5.9 7.925 13.825
5. Diana Bulimar 5.5 8.250 13.750
6. Zeng Siqi 6.1 7.225 13.325
7. Larisa Iordache 5.5 7.825 13.325
8. Lisa Verschueren 5.2 7.200 12.400

Men's Floor Exercise FinalDENDScore
1. Flavius Koczi 6.5 8.525 0.1 14.925
2. Arthur Mariano 6.1 8.800 14.900
3. Rok Klavora 5.9 8.800 14.700
4. Reiss Beckford 6.1 8.525 14.625
5. Andrew Smith 5.9 8.525 14.425
6. Andrej Korosteljev 6.0 8.375 14.375
7. Jeffrey Wammes 6.5 7.750 14.250
8. Luke Wiwatowski 5.8 8.350 0.4 13.750

Pommel Horse FinalDENDScore
1. Krisztian Berki 6.7 8.750 15.450
2. Jumpei Oka 6.3 8.825 15.125
3. Vid Hidvegi 6.4 8.700 15.100
4. Chen Xuezhang 6.4 8.525 14.925
5. Harutyum Merdinyan 6.3 8.525 14.825
6. Saso Bertoncelj 6.2 8.625 14.825
7. Prashanth Sellathurai 6.9 7.750 14.650
8. Flavius Koczi 6.2 8.250 14.450

Still Rings FinalDENDScore
1. Arthur Zanetti 6.7 9.000 15.700
2. Liao Qiuhua 6.7 8.725 15.425
3. Artur Tovmasyan 6.6 8.800 15.400
4. Vahagn Davtyan 6.6 8.725 15.325
5. Henrique Flores 6.7 8.550 15.250
6. Andrei V. Muntean 6.4 8.750 15.150
7. Yuri van Gelder 6.8 7.875 14.675
8. Theo Seager 6.3 8.275 14.575
Written by John Crumlish    Saturday, 16 March 2013 20:55    PDF Print
IG Online Interview: Andrew Smith (Ireland)
(6 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

IG Online continues its annual tradition of featuring Irish gymnastics on St. Patrick's Day with an interview with rising star Andrew Smith, who hopes his world-class tumbling skills will lead him to a berth at the 2016 Olympic Games.

Andrew Smith (Ireland)

Born March 3, 1991, in Nottingham, England, Smith trains at Notts Gymnastics Academy. Smith's Irish lineage enables him to represent Ireland in major international competitions. He is coached by Bulgarian native Pavel Todorov, who moved to England in 2011 after 14 years in Malaysia. Smith's former coach, two-time British Olympian Barry Winch, serves as an Irish national team coach.

Smith is an all-around gymnast, but his extraordinary tumbling ability has earned him impressive results on floor exercise. Last year he placed 12th on floor exercise at the European championships in Montpelier, France; fourth on floor exercise at the Challenge Cup in Maribor, Slovenia; and eighth on floor exercise at the Challenger Cup in Doha, Qatar.

Smith's strength on floor helped Ireland rank a surprise third as a team on the event — behind only Russia and Great Britain — at the 2012 Europeans. His routine in 2012 included six passes: round-off, layout Thomas salto; round-off, 3-1/2 twist, punch barani; punch front layout, punch double-twisting front; round-off, Thomas salto; round-off, 2-1/2 twist, punch front-full; and round-off, triple twist.

This year Smith has big plans to not only build on his floor exercise credentials, but diversify his competitive success. He placed eighth on floor exercise in Saturday's qualification at the French International in La Roche-sur-Yon, in preparation for next month's Europeans in Moscow. This fall Smith aims for a strong all-around finish at the world championships in Antwerp.

Smith is also excited to be participating in the Pro Gymnastics Challenge, a head-to-head skills competition pitting U.S. gymnasts against an international cast, to be held May 10-11 at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania. The event will be broadcast on ESPN2 from May 20-22.

In this IG Online interview, Smith describes his Irish heritage, and the gymnastics legacy he is determined to establish leading to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

IG: Since you were born in England and train there, how are you able to represent Ireland?

AS: I was born in Nottingham and that is where I have trained since I began gymnastics. My Irish roots come from my mum’s parents who were both fully Irish - my grandmother coming from Sligo, and my granddad from County Down. Also, my mum spent a lot of her childhood in Dublin and the west of Ireland, and a lot of my family is still living in Ireland. So I have always had very strong ties to Ireland, and now I'm thrilled to be competing for Ireland.

IG: To what do you attribute your international success on floor over the past year or so?

AS: Floor has always been one of my stronger events, but heavy preparation for each competition was a major factor. 2012 especially was a real breakthrough year for me, but success has come from years of work, so of course I'm happy to see that the hard work is now paying off.

Smith has become a floor exercise standout for Ireland

IG: Although you have been most successful on floor thus far, what are your plans for the all-around?

AS: Though floor is my standout event at the moment, I consider myself an all-around gymnast. I train every event equally, and it is definitely my plan to keep raising the standard of every event up to the 2016 Olympics. I did five events at the 2012 European Championships for Ireland, so of course for the team it is important for me to put up as many events as possible, too.

IG: In all of your tumbling passes on floor, you avoid handsprings altogether. What is your strategy with this approach?

AS: For me it isn't something I was taught. It was simply a technique that came about when I noticed I got a lot more power from my round-off than a back flick (handspring). Also, as I am a taller gymnast it can help me to fit everything into the diagonal by skipping the back flick. I see more and more people using this technique, as it gives you more space on the diagonal.

IG: What is the attitude of the Irish team, especially with the recent success that (2012 Irish Olympian) Kieran Behan and you have had?

AS: There is a great spirit behind the team, and it was great to compete together at the European Championships as it really highlighted this. But also just in training together we're always pushing each other to do more, which is great for us as individuals, but also for the team. We have a great squad now and we're really pushing hard to make the next few years count as we work up to Rio.

IG: What do you think it will take for you to qualify for the floor final in Moscow (Europeans next month), having come close at last year's Europeans?

AS: With the new Code (of Points) coming in, everyone has to modify their routines now. I plan to use the World Cup events before the Europeans to be fully prepared for the new skills I plan to put in. I have a lot of new skills I have been working that I can put in to up my difficulty more. It is just a matter of seeing what fits the best, but making sure the routine goes clean is always the number-one priority.

IG: What is your specific plan for qualifying for Rio?

AS: As the Irish team has come on so much in the last few years, we're trying to get a team to Rio. To do this we have to qualify through the world championships in 2014 and then 2015, so that is the route that we're all thinking of right now. However, we know the (Olympic) test event is another chance to get there, like my teammate Keiran Behan did last year, or a world championships medal at the 2015 Worlds, which, of course, is something that I strive for. But for right now we've planned everything around the team, so that is my main focus.

External Link: Gymnastics Ireland

Written by John Crumlish    Tuesday, 12 March 2013 09:16    PDF Print
IG Online Interview: Adrian de los Angeles (USA)
(5 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

A newcomer to the U.S. team, recent Winter Cup Challenge all-around silver medalist Adrian de los Angeles is eager to establish himself internationally in the new Olympic cycle.

The 19-year-old de los Angeles, a sophomore at the University of Michigan, finished second to 2012 Olympian Jake Dalton at the Winter Cup Challenge, a U.S. men’s ranking competition held last month in February. He led Dalton after the first day, but Dalton pulled ahead with a two-day total score of 173.250 points. De los Angeles scored 172.400 for second place, one rank ahead of 2012 Olympic all-around bronze medalist Danell Leyva, who scored 171.950 for third place.

Prior to competing at the Univ. of Michigan, de los Angeles trained under coach Grigor Chalikyan at the SCATS club in southern California. He placed second all-around in the 14-15 age group at the 2010 Visa (U.S.) Championships, and first all-around in the 16-18 age group at the 2011 Visa (U.S.) Championships. Last fall de los Angeles placed sixth all-around at the Japan Junior International.

De los Angeles is thriving at Michigan under head coach Kurt Golder and assistant coaches Geoff Corrigan and Xiao Yuan. As a freshman during the 2011-12 season, he placed 11th all-around at the NCAA Championships and won the Univ. of Michigan Athletic Academic Achievement Award. Michigan is ranked second behind Penn State in the latest NCAA rankings.

In this IG interview, de los Angeles describes his emergence as a contender for U.S. and international titles.

IG: Overall how do you feel about your results at the Winter Cup? Looking back, what were you most pleased with, and what could you have done better?

ADLA: Looking back, I was happy about my overall performance and how I was able to push through mistakes made during the meet. I was most pleased with not losing my focus after the first day of competition. I feel there were many things I could have done better, such as fixing silly mistakes that were made here and there, but with gymnastics, you only have one shot.

Adrian de los Angeles (U.S.)

IG: How did you manage to stay calm, competing against so many veterans, including the 2012 Olympic all-around bronze medalist?

ADLA: I was able to stay calm competing against veterans by not thinking about that at all. I just kept my head with myself and only focused on controlling what I could control, which was my own gymnastics.

IG: What does finishing in between Jake Dalton and Danell Leyva show you about your potential to challenge for the U.S. title later this year?

ADLA: As early in the season as it was, finishing in between Jake and Leyva gave me a bit more confidence for future competitions, and hopefully I will be able to make the senior national team again at USAs (Visa Championships).

IG: As one of the newcomers in this Olympic cycle, what is your strategy for pacing yourself over the next three years until the 2016 Olympics in Rio?

ADLA: As one of the newcomers for 2016, I plan on stepping up my gymnastics as much as I can. Hopefully I will be able to compete at more international meets and make a World Championships team. As the rest of the world gets better, I need to be doing the same

IG: How do you plan to balance the demands of competing almost weekly at Michigan in the winter and spring, and maintaining your strength for the U.S. championships in the summer and world championships in the fall?

ADLA: With the collegiate season so packed, I will just take it one weekend at a time, and take advantage of any opportunity to rest. Compete, recover, compete, will have to be the cycle.

IG: You haven’t yet declared a major at Michigan. Any thoughts as to where you're leaning at this point?

ADLA: I have been taking many kinesiology courses and I am very interested in movement science. Learning about how the human body is able to perform everyday tasks such as walking or running is amazing. Translating it to how the body acts when playing a sport is even more impressive.

Written by John Crumlish    Thursday, 14 February 2013 22:24    PDF Print
Interview: Christine Lee (Canada/UCLA)
(8 votes, average 4.25 out of 5)

2012 Canadian Olympic team honorary captain Christine (Peng-Peng) Lee spoke with IG this week about the knee injury that kept her out of the Olympics, the new phase of her career as a UCLA student-athlete, and the prospect of returning to international competition.

Lee, who was named Gymnastics Canada's Women's Gymnastics International Athlete of the Year for 2011-2012, tore her left ACL while training on vault at the Canadian championships last May. She traveled to last summer's London Games as honorary captain of the Canadian team that finished fifth, its best in Olympic history.

Prior to enrolling at UCLA, Lee, who hails from Richmond Hill, Ont., trained at Sport Seneca in Toronto and then at Oakville Gymnastics in Oakville, Ont. Lee's former coaches included Carol-Angela Orchard and Brian McVey (Sport Seneca), and Kelly Manjak, Sue Manjak and Lorne Bobkin (Oakville).

The 19-year-old Lee enrolled at UCLA last fall, and is eager to enter the line-up for collegiate competitions as soon as her knee heals completely. IG spoke with Lee at UCLA this week, to share her thoughts on her injury, academic life and the possibility of trying for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Lee competing for Canada at the 2012 Pacific Rim Championships

IG: How is your rehab going?

CL: Rehab is going really well. I've been doing a lot of strengthening, and I do rehab basically three times a week. I've started to jog, and we have an anti-gravity machine that I'm jogging on, so I'm not jogging with my full body weight, but I'm getting there. My knee feels really good, and I'm getting a lot stronger every day, so I'm really happy with how everything is going.

IG: How have you adjusted to the training regimen for college gymnastics?

CL: I love it. I love coming to training every day, because the girls are all so nice, and everyone is so supportive. It's just a really nice atmosphere to be in, and it doesn't really feel like I'm going to training sometimes, because I really want to do it, too. I still have that passion and that drive to learn and relearn everything. So even the little things I'm doing, like skipping, I'm enjoying, because I'm allowed to do something. On bars I'm starting to do Jaegers, so I'm doing a lot of those. I'm just having a lot of fun. I love it here.

IG: What is the chance of you competing this season?

CL: I'm not really sure. Right now I'm redshirted, but I haven't gotten cleared to do any running or gymnastics, so it all depends. But I'm not really worried about it. I'm enjoying my experience, and everything will fall into place.

IG: What is your course load this term?

CL: I have Life Science II, English Comp II and a general requirement class, so I'm taking a lot of general requirements this year.

IG: Which major are you leaning toward?

CL: It's really funny, because I was leaning toward the sciences, but then I was thinking that I can't really see myself doing that. So I'm going to switch over and look more on the business side, like marketing or advertising - something involving people, because I love to work with people. I'd like to work in the media. That would be really cool.

But I want to minor in something like theatre.

IG: What was it like singing "Moves Like Jagger" with (American Idol season 11 contestant) Kyle Khou at the UCLA meet last month?

CL: I used to sing when I was younger, but that (duet with Khou) was kind of different for me, because I like the slower songs. It's just a hobby. I have a guitar in my room, and I'll just sing in my room to kind of slow down everything when everything gets to be a little too much.

IG: Being in LA, are you looking into acting at all?

CL: I've done acting before when I was younger, as well, and then when I had my back injury, I went to the same acting school in Toronto as all the Degrassi ("Degrassi: The Next Generation," Canadian television drama) go. Miley Cyrus went there, too. It's something I like to do on the side. Gymnastics is always a big part of my life, so I like to do other things, because I like to keep moving and keep interested.

Lee sings with American Idol contestant Kyle Khou

IG: Overall what do you think of life in LA? Have you been homesick?

CL: I love it. It does get a lot cooler than I thought, though. I didn't think I'd need my winter jacket (laughs), but I was considering pulling it out of my closet. It's funny, because I don't really get homesick that much, but I did miss my friends and the atmosphere at home. It's a lot different, but I've adjusted really well to living on my own. It was just the time when I wanted to move out of the house and start my own journey. I love it here.

IG: How much contact do you have with your Canadian teammates these days?

CL: I talk to some of them. I haven't stayed in touch with everything, competition-wise, but I've been really busy down here so it's hard to keep updated. I still talk to (2012 Canadian Olympian and Stanford Univ. gymnast) Kristina Vaculik. She's one of my really good friends. I talk to Tal (Talia Chiarelli), too. I'll message them once in a while, but not that often.

IG: What are your thoughts about giving the 2016 Olympics in Rio a shot?

CL: I have given it thought, and I would love to go to 2016. It's so far down the road, but I still have that passion, and I love competing internationally and going to international competitions. I just love that atmosphere. I also really want to do the 2015 Pan American Games, because they are in Toronto, so that would be amazing to do. I don't want to go to 2016 just because it's the Olympics, but because I would love to do it, too. I don't think I'm done, yet.

IG: To some of your fans it seems as though you have some unfinished business...

CL: That's what it feels like. I still have that drive and I really want to do it, given the opportunity. I feel that gymnastics gets easier as you get older, because of the mental game, especially in college because you compete every weekend. So it will be a lot of fun to just bring that experience to the Elite level world. I would love to go to 2016. That would be awesome.

Lee is featured in the following issues of International Gymnast magazine:
April 2011 – Lee interview
June 2006 - "A Passion for Performing" (Lee profile)

To subscribe or order back issues, click here.


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