|Gilmore Ready For More // April 17, 2001
|2000 Canadian Olympian Crystal Gilmore, who signed a letter of intent to compete for the University of Utah last week, told IG this weekend that she has "dreams of continuing on until the 2004 Olympics."
Gilmore, who turned 18 on April 8, last week signed a letter of intent to compete for the University of Utah, which she called "a complete package and an absolutely wonderful place to be." She has not confirmed an enrollment date, but explained her agenda to IG.
"I'm going to continue training and competing for the Canadian team for as long as I possibly can," Gilmore said. "I'm not sure exactly when I will enroll, but definitely not until I have fulfilled all that I possibly can do as a member of the Canadian national team."
Gilmore, who trains at the Cambridge Kips club in Ontario, competed in the 2000 Olympics in Sydney and was an alternate on the Canadian team at the 1999 World Championships in Tianjin. Canada placed ninth in Sydney, and 10th in Tianjin. At the 2000 Canadian Championships, Gilmore placed fifth all-around.
Gilmore is one of several Canadian stars who have continued or plan to continue their gymnastics careers at U.S. universities. Another Canadian, Theresa Wolf (who competed in the 1994 Team World Championships and the 1995 World Championships), recently competed for the University of Utah.
"The atmosphere is remarkable, the schooling and facilities are incredible, and I felt so at home with all of the coaches and athletes," said Gilmore of the University.
She said she has not decided upon a major yet. "I still have plenty of time to consider my opportunities," she explained. "I have many choices that I would love to pursue such as being a doctor, veterinarian, teacher, broadcaster or physiotherapist."
Fellow 2000 Olympian Yvonne Tousek now competes for UCLA, and Lise Leveille competes for Stanford. Another 2000 teammate, Michelle Conway, has signed a letter of intent to compete for UCLA next year. Still, Gilmore says prospects for the current Canadian team are good.
"I think the mood in Canada is very positive, because we are feeling very confident and strong as a team," she said. "Although we have lost a few very valuable team members who have pursued a university education in the United States, we continue to build and have a very strong base with a lot of talented up-and-comers."
Gilmore likewise praised her coaches, Elvira Saadi and Vladimir Kondratenko. "Elvira and Valody (Kondratenko) make a remarkable team; they were the Gymnastics Canada Gymnastique 'Coaches of the Year' in 2000," said Gilmore. "The Cambridge Kips club is very fortunate to have such a talented duo. I consider them like my second family."
Saadi was a member of the Soviet Union's gold medal-winning team at the 1972 and 1976 Olympics. At the 1972 Games, she placed eighth all-around; in 1976, she finished seventh all-around in preliminaries but was unable to advance to the all-around final due to the three-gymnasts-per-country rule that had been placed in effect. Saadi also finished fourth all-around at the 1974 World Championships and tied for the bronze medal on floor exercise, and the next year tied for third all-around at the World Cup.
Saadi's other protegées have included 1990 European Championships floor exercise silver medallist Tatiana Groshkova (USSR), and two-time Canadian Olympian Tousek.
"Elvira has definitely been a major influence in my gymnastics career," Gilmore said. "She has coached me from a young age and she saw potential in my abilities from the start. I think the thing that makes her an outstanding coach is that she is very patient, and always positive. She has a ton of experience and knowledge of the sport, and without her help, there is no way I could have accomplished so much."
Video footage of Saadi, who during her own competitive career was revered for her femininity and precision, has given Gilmore additional appreciation for her coach's credentials. "From watching a couple of clips of Elvira's gymnastics career, I feel that she made gymnastics look so elegant and graceful, and at the same time was able to do daring and intricate skills," said Gilmore.
She is equally complimentary of Kondratenko. "Valody is a very caring, patient individual who has a quiet presence in the gym," Gilmore noted. "He has incredible skills and knowledge, especially on vault and bars."
Gilmore said she is looking forward to making more progress between now and her enrollment at the University. "The New Year has brought many challenges with the new Code of Points," she told IG, "but I'm working very hard to increase my start values, and difficulty."
For more on the Canadian team, read "Canada Can," a team profile, in the January 2001 issue of International Gymnast Magazine.
|Atler Announces Retirement // April 17, 2001
|U.S. gymnast Vanessa Atler announced her retirement from gymnastics yesterday. "I felt it was in my best interest to retire from gymnastics because of personal struggles I have been dealing with for about a year," she wrote in the online journal she keeps on her website.
Atler, 19, had been training at Rohnert Park Gymnastics in Rohnert Park, Calif. since January of this year. She was the U.S. junior national champion in 1996 and tied for the senior U.S. title in 1997. In 1998 she won floor and vault at the Goodwill Games. At the 1999 World Championships in Tianjin she placed 31st all-around. In 2000, she placed sixth at the U.S. Olympic trials but was not named to the team.
"I have always found it hard to let go of this sport, no matter how short the breaks were," wrote Atler. "This sport will always be my love."
Read a feature on Atler in the May 1999 issue of International Gymnast Magazine.
|Uzelac Hopeful for Full Recovery // April 16, 2001
|Kristal Uzelac (U.S.), whose leg injuries at the recent American Team Cup were revealed to be more serious than originally thought, is "very positive and is looking forward to full recovery," her father told IG today.
Uzelac injured her left leg while training at the Pontiac American Team Cup in Hawaii at the end of March. The injury was originally diagnosed as a "slight" knee sprain and ankle sprain.
"An MRI revealed that Kristal has a tear to the MCL in the left knee and also a tiny fracture in the left ankle," said Donnie Uzelac. "Both will require some time to heal, but her doctor feels that no surgery is required."
The MCL (medial collateral ligament) controls the knee's movement from side to side. Unlike tears to the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), MCL tears often require no surgery and heal on their own.
The 14-year-old Kristal, who trains at the Parkettes club in Allentown, Pa., won the U.S. junior all-around title in 1999 and 2000. She placed third at the Visa American Cup in late February. According to her father, she is optimistic and diligent in her recovery process.
"She has been talking about new floor music and she is excited to get started with it," Donnie told IG. "She has been in supervised physical therapy for over a week. She goes to physical therapy six times a week."
On Thursday, Kristal will travel to Philadelphia for a second opinion about her injury, said Donnie.
"I would like to thank everyone for all the support," Kristal said.
Read a feature on Uzelac and how she initially coped with the injury while in Hawaii, in the May 2001 issue of International Gymnast Magazine.
Read a profile on Uzelac in the February 1999 issue.
Uzelac is also featured on the cover of the April 2001 issue.
|Ivankov is The Godfather // April 14, 2001
|1994 and 1997 world all-around champion Ivan Ivankov (BLR) reported to IG this week that he was recently named the godfather to good friend Alexei Nemov's young son.
Ivankov, who turned 26 on April 10, said he and his girlfriend Suzy visited Nemov in Russia several weeks ago. During the visit, Nemov and his wife, Galina, named the couple as godparents to their son, Alexei, who was born last Sept. 2.
Nemov won gold medals in the all-around and high bar at the 2000 Olympics, where Ivankov placed fourth all-around.
While father Alexei was in Australia for the Olympics, Suzy was present with Galina for the birth of Alexei Jr. Now working as an aerobics teacher, Suzy previously worked as on-air talent for Belarusian television, and in television production.
Ivankov is scheduled to compete at the Stars of the World competition in Moscow in two weeks. IG will be present at the competition, so look for updates at IG Online.
Read profiles on Ivankov in the March 1998 and December 1996 issues of International Gymnast Magazine.
Also, read about Nemov's performance at the 2000 Olympics in the November 2000 issue; read "Serious Player," an interview with Nemov in the October 2000 issue; read "No Rush for Nemov," a profile in the October 1997 issue; and read "Unbelievable," a profile on Nemov in the February 1996 issue.
|Lopez Bounces Back // April 11, 2001
|2000 Olympic vaulting finalist Denisse Lopez (MEX) is ready to compete again after a scary fall at the recent Cottbus Cup in Germany, a spokesperson for the Mexican federation told IG today.
At the Cottbus Cup vault final held March 31, Lopez missed both hands on her vault, which was supposed to be a layout barani. She landed on the juncture of the base of her neck and the top of her back. She was the defending Cottbus Cup vault champion.
"The injury turned out to be more scary-looking than serious," said the Mexican federation spokesperson. "Denisse is back training normally, and plans to compete at the Romanian International (April 27-29). She hopes to continue until the World Championships (in the fall), but the most important meet to her this year is the World University Games in China."
Joining Lopez in Romania will be Yenny Ibarra, another elite gymnast from Lopez's Baja California club.
Lopez placed sixth on vault at the 1999 World Championships in Tianjin (becoming Mexico's first-ever finalist in the competition), and first on vault at the 1997 World University Games. She finished eighth on vault at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, hampered by a knee injury.
Read "Mexican Revolution," a profile on Lopez, in the February 2000 issue of International Gymnast Magazine.
|Tousek Looking for New Balance // April 10, 2001
|Two-time Canadian Olympian Yvonne Tousek said she is working to manage new responsibilities as a gymnast and full-time university student.
"The hardest part is finding a balance between everything that is going on - academics and athletics - so that you can be successful in every area," said Tousek, a freshman at UCLA who this past weekend placed second all-around and first on vault at the NCAA Western Regional championships. "I'm getting there. It's not really fine-tuned yet, but I'm looking forward to it. I'm learning something new every day."
The 21-year-old Tousek, who placed 33rd all-around at the 2000 Olympics and 26th all-around at the 1996 Olympics, said she is keeping her priorities straight.
"We are athletes 24 hours a day," she said. "We like to have fun outside the gym, but we also have to concentrate on our schoolwork."
Although retired from the Canadian team, Tousek serves as a gymnastics ambassador for the Toronto 2008 Olympic bid. "I'm not sure when we will find out who gets the Games, but I'm really excited that Toronto is being considered," she said.
Tousek's UCLA teammate, Mohini Bhardwaj (U.S.), competed with her at the 1997 World Championships in Lausanne. There, Tousek placed 20th all-around, and Bhardwaj placed fifth on vault.
Bhardwaj, 22, is planning to return to international competition. She will attempt to qualify for this summer's USA Championships. "I want to continue with this gymnastics thing and see where it takes me," said Bhardwaj, who at the NCAA Western Regionals won the all-around and three event titles.
"Whatever Mohini has set her mind to, she has accomplished," said UCLA coach Valorie Kondos.
Bhardwaj said her other plans include law school and certification as a yoga instructor. Her mother, in attendance at the Regionals, is also a yoga instructor.
Read more on Tousek in "The Tousek Touch," an interview in the May 1996 issue of International Gymnast Magazine; and "Canada Can," a feature on Tousek and the Canadian team, in the January 2001 issue of International Gymnast Magazine.
Read more on Bhardwaj's plans in the March 8, 2001 IG Online News Flash by clicking here.
Also read "Roughing It," a profile on Bhardwaj, in the February 1997 issue of International Gymnast Magazine.
|Chaschina sweeps at L.A. Lights // April 9, 2001
|Rhythmic gymnast Irina Chaschina, a member of Russia's gold medal-winning team at the 1999 World Championships, won the 18th annual L.A. Lights meet this weekend.
The 18-year-old from Omsk arrived in Los Angeles on Saturday. Instead of competing two events on both Saturday and Sunday as did the other competitors, Chaschina competed all four events on Sunday. Chaschina was third among Russia's contenders for its two spots at the 2000 Olympics.
Finishing second to Chaschina at the L.A. Lights competition was U.S. champion Jessica Howard, who performed new-for-2001 routines on all four events. Howard, 17, is coached by Efrossina Anguelova.
Next weekend, Howard will begin a one-month competition tour of Europe that will include meets in Greece, Bulgaria and France. "It's definitely good to compete in Europe," Howard told IG on Sunday. "The level of gymnastics is so amazing there, and it works out your nerves to go and compete there often."
Chaschina and the rest of the Russian delegation will travel to Las Vegas on Monday, and return to Los Angeles on Tuesday for sightseeing. They will return to Russia on Wednesday.
The top L.A. Lights gymnast, Irina Korostelyova, competed in the Level 9 category due to her non-U.S. citizen status. However, her scores would have placed her third in the Level 10 division, behind Chaschina and Howard.
|Blaine Wilson Marries // April 6, 2001
|Five-time U.S. national champion and two-time Olympian Blaine Wilson married last week. Wilson married fiancée Makare Desilets, 24, at a March 28 wedding ceremony held at the Justice of the Peace in Columbus, Ohio.
Wilson, 25, is currently attending Ohio State University. His bride (whose name is pronounced muh-CAR-ee DESS-uh-lay) is a professional volleyball player. A former volleyball standout at the University of Washington, she holds dual U.S. and Canadian citizenship. Desilet recently returned from playing in Italy and is now coaching volleyball in the Columbus area.
Wilson won his fourth American Cup in February, and earlier this month made two event finals at the France Telecom in Paris.
|Familiar Names Resurface in Cottbus Finals // April 2, 2001
|The 25th Cottbus Cup finals featured a few newcomers, but the medals were mostly distributed to veterans of the European competition circuit. Olympic gold medallists Szilveszter Csollany (HUN), Marius Urzica (ROM), Svetlana Khorkina (RUS) and Yelena Zamolodchikova (RUS) won the title on the same events they claimed in the 2000 Olympics (pommel horse, rings, uneven bars, and women's vault, respectively). The competition used the "Winner's Final" format; the top two of each event in the finals then perform a head-to-head final to determine the winner.
Khorkina, in her post-Olympic competitive debut, scored well under the new Code of Points to win preliminaries and semi-finals on the uneven bars, but the winner's final featured a double disaster for her and teammate Zamolodchikova with both gymnasts scoring less than 8.0.
1999 World Championships team bronze medallist Bai Chunyue (absent from China's 2000 Olympic team) resurfaced to take the balance beam title over floor winner Yekaterina Lobaznyuk (RUS). Second place vaulter Oksana Chusovitina (UZB) was the only gymnast to qualify for all finals.
Meanwhile, Slovenia's Aljaz Pegan was the only double champion, winning the parallel bars and high bar. With Latvia's Olympic champion on floor exercise, Igors Vihrovs, absent from the competition, his countryman Yevgeny Sapronenko won the event over Bulgarian Jordan Jovtchev (who was also the runner-up on rings). Leaving Cottbus without any medals were former and current world all-around champions Ivan Ivankov (BLR) and Nikolai Kryukov (RUS).
25th Cottbus Cup Finals
1. Zamolodchikova RUS 9.575
2. Chusovitina UZB 9.125
1. Yelena Zamolodchikova RUS 9.462
2. Oksana Chusovitina UZB 9.125
3. Jana Komrskova CZE 9.062
4. Verona van de Leur NED 9.038
5. Emma Williams GBR 8.875
6. Yekaterina Lobaznyuk RUS 8.762
7. Lisa Brüggemann GER 8.712
8. Denisse Lopez MEX 0.00
1. Khorkina RUS 7.775
2. Zamolodchikova RUS 7.200
1. Svetlana Khorkina RUS 9.475
2. Yelena Zamolodchikova RUS 9.350
3. Birgit Schweigert GER 8.975
4. Bai Chunyue CHN 8.950
5. Olga Roschupkina UKR 8.925
6. Verona van de Leur NED 8.900
7. Oksana Chusovitina UZB 8.175
8. Jana Komrskova CZE 4.400
1. Bai CHN 9.150
2. Lobaznyuk RUS 8.700
1. Bai Chunyue CHN 9.375
2. Yekaterina Lobaznyuk RUS 9.125
3. Olga Roschupkina UKR 9.050
3. Lisa Brüggemann GER 9.050
5. Oksana Chusovitina UZB 8.575
6. Svetlana Khorkina RUS 8.400
7. Elisabeth Tweddle GBR 6.975
8. Gabriella Wammes NED 6.875
Women's Floor Exercise
1. Lobaznyuk RUS 9.200
2. van de Leur NED 9.100
1. Verona van de Leur NED 9.150
2. Yekaterina Lobaznyuk RUS 9.125
3. Lisa Brüggemann GER 8.900
4. Joelle Ouellette CAN 8.850
5. Oksana Chusovitina UZB 8.800
6. Joanna Skibko POL 8.550
7. Olga Roschupkina UKR 8.525
8. Gabriella Wammes NED 8.200
9. Alexandra Balz SUI 7.500
Men's Floor Exercise
1. Sapronenko LAT 9.438
2. Jovtchev BUL 9.325
1. Yevgeny Sapronenko LAT 9.275
2. Jordan Jovtchev BUL 9.262
3. Filip Ianev BUL 9.113
4. Kasper Fardan DEN 9.100
5. Robert Gal HUN 9.038
6. Cedric Guille FRA 8.587
7. Sven Kwiatkowski GER 8.450
8. Coong Thoong GBR 8.350
1 Urzica ROM 9.712
2 Kwiatkowski GER 9.375
1. Marius Urzica ROM 9.750
2. Sven Kwiatkowski GER 9.400
3. Alberto Busnari ITA 9.100
4. Craig Pellowe GBR 9.087
5. Nikolai Kryukov RUS 9.050
6. Martin Fuchs SUI 8.837
7. Zoltan Supola HUN 8.400
8. Lu Jia CHN 8.387
1. Csollany HUN 9.700
2. Jovtchev BUL 9.637
1. Szilveszter Csollany HUN 9.738
2. Jordan Jovtchev BUL 9.637
3. Andrea Coppolino USA 9.387
4. Ivan Ivankov BLR 9.350
5. Shen Zhao CHN 9.275
6. Ronny Ziesmer GER 9.238
7. Andreas Schweizer SUI 9.087
8. Kanukai Jackson GER 8.875
1. Lu CHN 9.800
2. Blanik POL 9.525
1. Lu Bin CHN 9.494
2. Leszek Blanik POL 9.456
3. Valery Pereshkura UKR 9.319
4. Filip Ianev BUL 9.212
5. Tue Lodahl DEN 9.181
6. Yernar Yerimbeton KAZ 9.156
7. Daniel Aunvig DEN 9.144
8. Robert Gal HUN 9.031
9. Ronny Ziesmer GER 8.875
1. Pegan SLO 8.963
2. Yerimbeton KAZ 8.950
1. Aljaz Pegan SLO 9.137
2. Yernar Yerimbeton KAZ 9.075
3. Mitja Petkovsek SLO 9.025
4. Shen Zhao CHN 9.025
5. Alexei Sinkevich BLR 8.788
6. Nikolai Kryukov RUS 8.600
7. Benoit Caranobe FRA 8.450
8. Cedric Guille FRA 8.150
1. Pegan SLO 9.512
2. Fuchs SUI 8.050
1. Aljaz Pegan SLO 9.650
2. Martin Fuchs SUI 9.387
3. Igor Cassina ITA 9.375
4. Sven Kwiatkowski GER 9.337
5. Valery Pereshkura UKR 9.000
6. Jari Monkkonen FIN 8.900
7. Daniel Rexa CZE 8.425
8. Yernar Yerimbeton KAZ 7.550
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