IG News
Field of Olympians set for Visa American Cup
// January 31, 2001
Twelve of the 16 gymnasts listed on the preliminary roster for Feb. 24's Visa American Cup finished among the top 36 all-around at the 2000 Olympics.

USA Gymnastics released a list of eight women and eight men slated to compete in the event, to be held in Orlando, Florida. Headlining the field is Russia's Yelena Zamolodchikova, who won gold medals on vault and floor exercise at last year's Sydney Olympics.

The 2000 Olympic all-around finalists (with their 2000 Olympic all-around finishes in parentheses) are:

Women:
Yelena Zamolodchikova RUS (sixth), Laura Martinez ESP (12th), Kate Richardson CAN (15th), Monica Bergamelli ITA (18th), Alyona Polozkova BLR (34th). Joining them are U.S. Olympian Tasha Schwikert, who did not compete all-around in Sydney; reigning U.S. junior champion Kristal Uzelac; and Brazil's Camila Comin (86th all-around in prelims at the '99 world championships, and 15th all-around at the '99 Pan American Games).

Men:
Alexander Beresch UKR (third), Blaine Wilson USA (sixth), Alexei Bondarenko RUS (seventh), Marian Dragulescu ROM (13th), Erick Lopez CUB (17th), Kenichi Fujita JPN (25th), and Victor Cano ESP (31st). Joining them is U.S. Olympian Sean Townsend, who did not compete all-around in Sydney.

Look for coverage of the Visa American Cup on IG Online.

Read more about the competitors in various issues of International Gymnast Magazine: December 2000 (Zamolodchikova); May 2000 (Martinez); March 2000 (Polozkova); February 1999 (Uzelac); August/September 2000 (Beresch); May 1999 and May 1997 (Wilson); August/September 2000 and June/July 1997 (Bondarenko); March 2000 (Lopez); May 2000 (Townsend); and November 2000 (coverage of 2000 Olympics).

Beckerman Now Sings a Happier Tune // January 30, 2001
2000 U.S. Olympian Alyssa Beckerman, who sang the national anthem at the UCLA vs Cal Fullerton NCAA meet yesterday, says she is moving past her Olympic-year frustrations. "It's going pretty well, and I'm slowly coming back," she told IG.

Now a freshman at UCLA, the 20-year-old Beckerman is easing into the collegiate phase of her competitive career. She is currently tending to an old injury to her left wrist that may require surgery. The same injury prevented her from competing in the 1999 World Championships.

"I've been working on trying to do a no-handed beam routine," Beckerman joked to IG. "I do a lot of no-handed moves anyway, but I have been working on things that don't hurt my wrist too much. Hopefully, after surgery, I'll be able to fully come back."

Beckerman's vocal performance at yesterday's competition was one of many she has made in her career. While training at Cincinnati Gymnastics Academy, she was often called upon to sing the national anthem at CGA-hosted events. At UCLA, Beckerman says she may focus some of her studies on singing and acting, but has not yet declared a major.

At the 2000 U.S. championships, the stylish Beckerman tied for first place on balance beam and finished fifth all-around. She was then named alternate on the U.S. Olympic team. When higher-ranked Olympic teammate Morgan White withdrew from the squad due to a foot injury, Beckerman was then bypassed for a starting spot in favor of Tasha Schweikert, who had placed one position behind her at the trials.

Read Beckerman's side of this controversial story in the March issue of International Gymnast Magazine.

"Father" of US Women's Collegiate Gymnastics Mourned
// January 25, 2001
Friends, family, and members of the American gymnastics community are mourning the loss of Herb Vogel, who passed away January 10 at age 69. Vogel has been called the "Father" of US women's collegiate gymnastics for his role in establishing the first collegiate program for female gymnasts in the United States.

Coach Vogel built his competitive program at Southern Illinois University in the early '60s and coached many nationally prominent gymnasts. In 1963, one of his gymnasts, Donna Schaenzer, became the first titlist at a national championships held by the US Gymnastics Federation. He was the coach of Judy Wills, winner of the first five world trampoline championships. He was also a former writer for Modern Gymnast Magazine (the precursor to International Gymnast).

Vogel has been described by many as a pioneer in US gymnastics for his coaching methodology and sporting vision. Former SIU gymnast Terry Spencer described Vogel as "ahead of his time" for his foresight as a coach. She recalled that back in the '60s, "Herb predicted the girls would eventually be swinging on uneven bars the same way the men swung on high bar."

Spencer, who was on the October '73 cover of IG, was coached by Vogel from '68 to '73. "He was a tough coach," she says, "but he got most everybody as far as they could go."

An open house celebrating Vogel's life will be held at the Vogel home this Saturday, January 27, 2001. The address is 611 Skyline Dr., Carbondale, IL 62901-2213. "If anyone would like to send a card, and a good Herb Vogel story, I am certain his family will appreciate your thoughts," said family friend Sandy Oldham.

Vogel is survived by his wife, Donna Schaenzer Kramer, and their five children.

Read more about the life of Herb Vogel in an upcoming issue of International Gymnast Magazine.

Zasypkina, White Win WOGA Classic // January 21, 2001
The host team swept the junior all-around awards, and Russia's Maria Zasypkina took the senior title at the WOGA Classic, held Saturday night in Allen, Texas. A strong international field enjoyed enthusiastic crowd and community support in this meet run by World Olympic Gymnastics Academy of nearby Plano.

Second in the junior division last year, WOGA's Kaitlin White earned the junior all-around gold after tallying 9.75 on both vault and floor exercise. The 14-year-old White led WOGA teammates Hollie Vise (9.80 on balance beam) and Carly Patterson, who tied for second. Vise, 13, placed fourth in the '00 event, then called the Plano Classic. (The '01 meet used the old Code of Points.)

Russia's Anna Pavlova, third in '00, placed fourth after falling from the uneven bars and on floor exercise.

In the senior competition, Russia's Maria Zasypkina overpowered the field to win the all-around gold. Her closest challenge came from three-time Olympian Oksana Chusovitina of Uzbekistan. The mother of a young son, the 25-year-old Chusovitina earned big cheers for her floor exercise but counted a fall from the bars.

Ukrainian Olympian Alyona Kvasha took the senior all-around bronze.

Read more about the WOGA Classic, as well as an in-depth look at the WOGA club and profiles on stars of the meet, in upcoming issues of International Gymnast Magazine. Look for more on the stars of the 2001 WOGA Classic in future coverage on IG Online.

2001 WOGA Classic

Senior All-Around

1. Maria Zasypkina (RUS) 38.875
2. Oksana Chusovitina (UZB) 37.850
3. Alyona Kvasha (UKR) 37.000
4. Breanne King (Flicka/CAN) 36.125
5. Anne Marie Williamson (MLC/AUS) 35.700
6. Jacey Draper (Olympus/USA) 34.450

Junior All-Around

1. Kaitlin White (WOGA/USA) 37.825
2. (tie) Hollie Vise (WOGA/USA)
2. (tie) Carly Patterson (WOGA/USA) 37.600
4. Anna Pavlova (RUS) 37.325
5. Natalia Uchevatkina (RUS) 37.275
6. Leila Gruzdeva (RUS) 36.625

Tracy Optimistic About New Code, New Quadrennium
// January 18, 2001
US coach Mary Lee Tracy says she is enthusiastic about the new quadrennium, and she and her gymnasts are enjoying experimenting with the new rules in the FIG Code of Points for 2001. "We are having fun with the Code, trying new things," she told IG. "It can be surprising what you are capable of, when you are open."

Tracy, who owns and runs the Cincinnati Gymnastics Academy in Ohio, was the assistant coach of the US's gold-medal winning team at the '96 Olympics. She had also been an assistant Olympic coach in 2000, but stepped down when her gymnast Morgan White had to withdraw from the team with a foot injury. Tracy said White, now recovered, is back in the gym and once again focused.

Along with Morgan White, Tracy has two other elite gymnasts in her top group, Sam Sheehan and Haiya Rodriguez. Cincinnati native Sheehan, 14, moved from Level 10 last year to National Elite and was selected to join the international training squad at the US training camp held January 7-8. Tracy told IG that Sheehan's work ethic and dedication "fit in perfectly with Morgan and our training environment."

Rodriguez, 12, was a member of 1999's TOPs (Talent Opportunity Program) national team, as well as a competitor at last year's Junior Olympic Nationals. Tracy describes Rodriguez as a powerful athlete, and compares her focus to that of former Cincinnati gymnast Jennie Thompson. "Haiya is a hard worker, and reminds me of Jennie with her calm but intense disposition," said Tracy.

Tracy says she is enjoying the creative challenge of implementing the new Code of Points into her gymnasts' routines. (The Code, which assigns values to skills and sets base technical requirements, is updated every four years by the FIG Technical Committees.) "I like that some of the special requirements in the new Code on floor and beam are gone," said Tracy, who also told IG she is glad some skills, such as the aerial on beam, have been upgraded in value.

Though she is happy with some of the Code changes, Tracy describes herself as anxious over the changes in vault requirements. Most vaults have been devalued, and in team competition gymnasts will do only one vault. "I didn't really think it was necessary to make it tougher," she said. "No one was scoring that great by the end of the last cycle." Tracy told IG she feels the vault requirements will be a new challenge for her as a coach. "I am anxious to see what it feels like to compete and only do one vault," she says. "Since I have been coaching I have never competed athletes under that rule."

Tracy, a veteran coach at the elite level, says having to adapt to gymnastics' new rules is nothing new.

"When you have been through several quadrenniums," Tracy explained, "you begin to remember that it always seems impossible when you start. Then you figure it out and it gets easier. One thing to keep in mind is that everyone else in the world is in the same boat as you!"

Read more about Mary Lee Tracy and the Cincinnati Gymnastics Academy in the June/July 2000 issue of International Gymnast Magazine.

Nemov, Amanar Win World Sports Awards // January 16, 2001
Russia's Alexei Nemov and Romania's Simona Amanar each won the title "Athlete of the Year" in their respective categories for men's and women's athletics at the 2000 World Sports Awards, held tonight in London.

The awards jury was composed of athletes, sports officials and journalists, with one extra vote being awarded to the athlete who earned the most online votes. Earlier this month, both Nemov and Amanar triumphed in the internet voting.

Look for more from London's World Sports Awards in an upcoming issue of International Gymnast Magazine as well as online.

Presacan Eases into New Sport // January 16, 2001
Veteran gymnast Claudia Presacan, who retired after helping her Romanian team win gold at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, is easing into her role as a coxswain for the rowing team. "This is a completely new sport for me," she told IG this weekend, "but I must admit practicing as a coxswain is much easier than gymnastics."

As a coxswain, Presacan will be an essential part of her rowing team. Her duties will be yelling encouragement to her teammates and steering the boat straight if it becomes misaligned. (Because of their added weight, coxswains are required to be small and light.) "I wanted to stay involved in a sport and stay active," she says of her decision not to leave sports altogether.

Presacan, 21, was one of Romania's most reliable competitors in the '90s. She was a member of the gold medal-winning Romanian team at the '94 and '95 World Championships. She missed the '96 Olympics due to injury, but returned to help her team once again triumph at the '97 Worlds. In '98 she finished third all-around at the European Championships, and then retired from gymnastics in '99. She returned to training once again in 2000, helping her team win its first Olympic gold medal in a non-boycotted Olympics. (Individually, Presacan also made beam finals in Sydney, placing fourth.)

After her retirement, it was revealed that Presacan had competed in Sydney while suffering from severe anemia. Anemia, a disease most often caused by iron or vitamin B12 deficiencies, is accompanied by symptoms such as fatigue, rapid heart beat, shortness of breath, headaches, and dizziness. Despite her condition, Presacan told IG she felt it did not affect her performance. "I have always had a problem with anemia, but I am cured now," Presacan says. "It did not affect me at all during the Olympics."

(Romanian team doctor Ioachim Oana, who cleared Presacan to compete despite the anemia, was fired after the Olympics for dispensing cold medicine containing a banned substance to Presacan's teammate Andreea Raducan. Raducan was subsequently stripped of her all-around gold medal when the substance was detected.)

Presacan spoke with IG on her cell phone from the mountain city of Poiana Brasov, where she is now training with the rowing team. She says the idea to take up the new sport was not her own initially, but that she was encouraged by someone at her Bucharest club, Club Steaua. So far, Presacan is not ruling out an Olympic appearance in her second sport. "Of course, I would like to make the Olympics," she says, "but I have no guarantee that I will make the team. I still have a long way to go."

All-Star Show in Belarus // January 15, 2001
An international cast of gymnasts and trampolinists gathered in Minsk, Belarus yesterday to put on a theatrical gymnastics show. The annual event, established to celebrate and promote gymnastics, was sponsored by the Spanish company Gallina Blanca. Produced by rhythmic coach Irina Leparskaya, the production featured fireworks and a laser show.

Yelena Tkachenko and 2000 Olympic silver medallist Yulia Raskina, Belarus' present stars of rhythmic gymnastics, joined stars of the past Olga Gontar and Tatiana Ogryzko in performing for the packed crowd. Also taking part was the Belarusian rhythmic group (silver medallists in Sydney) and the recently retired Yelena Vitrichenko of Ukraine. Belarus' top trampolinist Dmitry Polyarush performed along with Olympic silver medallist Oksana Tsukhuleva (UKR) and Russian Olympic champions Alexander Moskalenko and Irina Karavayeva.

Belarus' artistic Olympic team was represented by Alyona Polozkova, Marina Zarzhitskaya, Alexander Kruzhilov, and Alexei Sinkevich.

France's Dmitry Karbanenko and Russia's rhythmic star Alina Kabayeva were voted "Mr. Show" and "Miss Show" by the journalists present. The show culminated in a dance number featuring Kabayeva and young gymnast Tonya Imanala, the latter a star of Saturday's "Baby Cup" meet for rhythmic gymnasts aged five to nine.

China and Australia Dominate Sydney Youth Olympic Festival // January 14, 2001
After securing victories in the men's and women's team competitions, China and Australia continued to dominate the Sydney Youth Olympic Festival. On Friday, China's Feng Din and Australia's Danielle Kelly won the all-around titles for men and women, respectively. In the event final competition held this weekend, all but two gold medals went to Chinese and Australian gymnasts.

In rhythmic gymnastics, China took the team title while a trio of Australians swept the all-around. Japan, which won two gold medals in the men's event finals, won two more gold medals in the trampoline competition.

Women's All-Around

  1. Danielle Kelly (AUS) 37.141
  2. Kang Xin (CHN) 36.107
  3. Kayla Hockey (AUS) 35.886
  4. Huang Jing (CHN) 35.666
  5. Kyoko Oshima (JPN) 35.307
  6. Sarah Lauren (AUS) 35.253
  7. Kumi Fujiwara (JPN) 34.933
  8. Samantha Kinnish (AUS) 34.786

Men's All-Around

  1. Feng Jin (CHN) 54.900
  2. Li Di (CHN) 52.450
  3. Takuya Nakase (JPN) 52.150
  4. Akio Suzuki (JPN) 50.600
  5. Dong Zhendong (CHN) 49.150
  6. Takuya Shigemura (JPN) 48.850
  7. Ashley Mullen (AUS) 47.700
  8. Karl Petersen Stock (AUS) 47.050

Women's Vault

  1. Xin (CHN) 9.156
  2. Joanna Kavouras (AUS) 9.088
  3. Ling Bo (CHN) 9.013
  4. Miho Takenaka (JPN) 8.987
  5. Kylie Tanner (AUS) 8.900
  6. Oshima (JPN) 8.249
  7. Chang Zhi Wei (MAL) 8.106
  8. Victoria Knight (NZL) 7.937

Uneven Bars

  1. Kelly (AUS) 9.687
  2. Huang Jing (CHN) 9.475
  3. Chen Miaojie (CHN) 9.150
  4. Takenaka (JPN) 9.075
  5. Hockey (AUS) 9.037
  6. Fujiwara (JPN) 8.987
  7. Knight (NZL) 7.487
  8. Nurul Fatiha Al Hamid (MAL) 7.187

Balance Beam

  1. Xin (CHN) 9.687
  2. Kinnish (AUS) 9.137
  3. Chihiro Ichikawa (JPN) 9.037
  4. Fujiwara (JPN) 9.037
  5. Huang (CHN) 8.975
  6. Kelly (AUS) 8.862
  7. Chang (MAL) 7.925
  8. Knight (NZL) 7.225

Women's Floor Exercise

  1. Kelly (AUS) 9.462
  2. Oshima (JPN) 9.187
  3. Huang (CHN) 9.150
  4. Nicole Alexander (AUS) 9.112
  5. Ling (CHN) 8.587
  6. Fujiwara (JPN) 8.350
  7. Brooke Wiggins (NZL) 7.650
  8. Chang (MAL) 7.012

Men's Floor Exercise

  1. Li (CHN) 9.300
  2. Nakase (JPN) 9.100
  3. Feng (CHN) 8.950
  4. Dong (CHN) 8.900
  5. Masashi Saito (JPN) 8.850
  6. Sam Simpson (AUS) 7.850
  7. Arne Booysen (AUS) 7.350
  8. Stock (AUS) 7.100

Pommel Horse

  1. Li (CHN) 9.650
  2. Feng (CHN) 9.350
  3. Nakase (JPN) 8.950
  4. Saito (JPN) 8.900
  5. Akio Suzuki (JPN) 8.700
  6. Karl Lorenz (AUS) 8.500
  7. Ashley Mullen (AUS) 8.150
  8. Dong (CHN) 7.950

Rings

  1. Nakase (JPN) 9.100
  2. Feng (CHN) 8.900
  3. Takuya Shigemura (JPN) 8.850
  4. Liu Jinyu (CHN) 8.650
  5. Suzuki (JPN) 8.600
  6. Li (CHN) 8.100
  7. Stock (AUS) 7.750
  8. Mullen (AUS) 7.150

Men's Vault

  1. Saito (JPN) 9.150
  2. Nakase (JPN) 9.050
  3. Feng (CHN) 9.000
  4. Stock (AUS) 8.825
  5. Dong (CHN) 8.750
  6. Sam Simpson (AUS) 8.700
  7. Arne Booysen (AUS) 8.525
  8. Li (CHN) 7.750

Parallel Bars

  1. Dong (CHN) 9.500
  2. Liu (CHN) 9.300
  3. Nakase (JPN) 9.275
  4. Suzuki (JPN) 8.600
  5. Saito (JPN) 8.550
  6. Mullen (AUS) 8.200
  7. Simpson (AUS) 7.900
  8. Lorenz (AUS) 7.550

High Bar

  1. Liu (CHN) 9.250
  2. Feng (CHN) 9.200
  3. Nakase (JPN) 8.750
  4. Stock (AUS) 8.200
  5. Simpson (AUS) 8.050
  6. Dong (CHN) 7.800
  7. Mullen (AUS) 7.700

Rhythmic Team

  1. China 103.185
  2. Australia 'A' 103.020
  3. Australia 'B' 99.289

Rhythmic All-Around Final

  1. Kate Riley (AUS) 35.165
  2. Amy Mcdermott (AUS) 34.924
  3. Amy Lowe (AUS) 34.399
  4. Zhu Dan (CHN) 34.149
  5. Wei Shanshan (CHN) 33.940
  6. Courtney Holloway (AUS) 33.786
  7. Li Yina (CHN) 33.561
  8. Belinda Upton (AUS) 33.528

Men's Individual Trampoline

  1. Yasushiro Ueyama (JPN) 37.70
  2. Scott Brown (AUS) 37.00
  3. Liu Qipeng (CHN) 35.20
  4. Shunsuke Nagasaki (JPN) 34.90
  5. Bryan Milonja (CAN) 34.80
  6. Brooke Milliner (GBR) 33.30
  7. Christopher Chatfield (AUS) 31.20
  8. James Higgins (GBR) 30.50

Women's Individual Trampoline

  1. Midori Kobaka (JPN) 33.70
  2. Huang Shanshan (CHN) 33.20
  3. Tara Kundeus (AUS) 33.10
  4. Katherine Driscoll (GBR) 32.80
  5. Sarah Black (AUS) 31.40
  6. Katrina Moodie (NZL) 31.30
  7. Chantel Tessmer (CAN) 30.70
  8. Rachel Hansen (AUS) 30.10
Youth on Display at Belarus Rhythmic Cup
// January 14, 2001
The Belarus Cup, a national rhythmic gymnastics competition for individual apparatus titles, was held in Minsk on Friday, January 12. Veteran competitors Yulia Raskina and Yelena Tkachenko split the senior titles with two golds each, and the awards were well-distributed among the younger divisions (only one repeat winner).

In addition to the domestic Belarus Cup, an international children's event was held yesterday, January 13. Young rhythmic gymnasts, aging from five to nine years old, competed in the first "Baby Cup." Russia, Ukraine, and Sweden sent competitors to compete with the host nation.

Seniors (ages 15 and older)
Rope: Yulia Raskina (Minsk) 19.850
Ball: Yelena Tkachenko (Minsk) 19.683
Hoop: Tkachenko 19.733
Ribbon: Raskina 19.900

Juniors (ages 12 to 14)
Rope: Natalia Prokopova (Minsk) 18.133
Ball: Natalia Redko (Minsk) 18.082
Hoop: Lyubov Cherkashina (Brest) 18.3
Clubs: Larisa Kurilskaya (Minsk) 18.433

Children (ages 11 and younger)
Rope: Ksenia Sankovich (Minsk) 17.633
Ball: Olga Frantskevich (Minsk) 17.822
Hoop: Galina Martinovich (Minsk) 18.200
Clubs: Martinovich 18.099

Boginskaya Top Model Down Under // January 11, 2001
1989 world champion Svetlana Boginskaya, a veteran leotard model, enjoyed her recent experience modeling swimsuits for Australia's Inside Sport Magazine. "The Australian lifeguards thought I was a supermodel, and that made me feel special," Boginskaya told IG. "Like a woman and not a gymnast."

The 27-year-old Boginskaya has previously modeled for gymnastics wear companies such as Gym-Kin, Christian Moreau, and most recently her own company, Gym Wear. Her first experience as a swimsuit model came last September, when she modeled for the monthly sports magazine during her trip to the Sydney Olympics. Modeling swimsuits was harder work than she had imagined, she told IG. "It was a learning experience for me," she says. "You have to be on the shoot for six to eight hours. It was freezing cold but you have to pretend that it was hot and sunny. In one picture, you can see the goose bumps from how cold I was. I was surprised that I did not get sick."

Boginskaya, one of the most accomplished gymnasts of the past two decades, won three gold medals in Olympic competition and five in world championship competition, including the '89 world all-around title. She initially retired after the '92 Olympics in Barcelona, but returned to make her third Olympic appearance at the '96 Games in Atlanta. Boginskaya, a native of Belarus, is now married and lives in Houston, TX.

After the birth of her daughter Ania on July 25, 1999, Boginskaya worked hard to return to her athletic form. "I was back down to my [pre-pregnancy] size in about three to four weeks," she told IG, "but I was definitely not in the same shape. I do lots of gymnastics strength conditioning and running. Recently I had to get in my old gymnastics shape for a tour in Europe which I enjoyed tremendously."

Boginskaya says she would like to continue modeling, but that with her busy schedule, it is not her priority. "I would like to if it is for women's sports and fitness, but I don't think you will see me in the 'Victoria's Secret' catalog any time soon, " she joked to IG. "Right now I am concentrating on my mini-camps and my Gym-Wear.com."

In addition to her coaching clinics, appearances, and business ventures, Boginskaya recently organized her first competition. The first Svetlana Boginskaya Invitational was held in Houston this past weekend, January 6 and 7. The meet featured more than 100 optional-level gymnasts in its last two sessions, according to Boginskaya, who hopes to see the annual competition grow in size and prestige. "We had a great meet," she says. "I would definitely make the Boginskaya Invitational bigger and better in the years to come. Maybe next year we can bring international teams."

Boginskaya's photo layout can be viewed online via Inside Sport's website. Click here to access the site.

Atler Returns to Training At New Gym
// January 11, 2001
The USA's Vanessa Atler has returned to training after her participation in last fall's TJ Maxx Tour of World Gymnastics Champions. The 18-year-old native of Southern California, is now working out at Rohnert Park Gymnastics, north of San Francisco. "Vanessa is here and training," Rohnert Park coach Ben Corr told IG today.

Atler, who was not selected for the 2000 Olympic team despite a sixth-place finish at the USA Olympic Trials, was the USA co-national champion in '97 and winner of two gold medals at the '98 Goodwill Games. She trained at Southern California's Charter Oak Gliders under coaches Steve and Beth Rybacki until just prior to the '99 World Championships. She then relocated to Plano, TX to train with Valery Liukin at World Olympic Gymnastics Academy. She left WOGA after the USA Olympic trials.

Atler, who has been apparently training at Rohnert Park since January 2, has not announced her future competitive goals. Corr confirmed to IG that Atler was at his gym, but declined to reveal more about her plans, saying only, "I'm afraid that's all I can state for the moment."

Previous Rohnert Park gymnasts have included Karissa Chock (15th at the '96 USA junior national championships and third on vault at the '96 Belgian TopGym Tournament), and UCLA collegiate standout Heidi Moneymaker. Moneymaker, 21st at the '99 USA national championships, was the USA's highest finisher at the '99 World University Games (16th). At the NCAA championships she placed first on bars in '98 and first on vault in '99.

Australia, China Win Team Titles at Sydney Youth Olympic Festival // January 11, 2001
Australia and China won the women's and men's team titles, respectively, at today's Sydney Youth Olympic Festival. The international festival is a multi-sport competition established to commemorate the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. The event is for junior athletes and is scheduled to be held every other year. The gymnastics portion features the Olympic events of artistic gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics, and trampoline. The competition started today and will conclude Sunday.

Sydney Youth Olympic Festival
Sydney, Australia

Women's Team Competition

  1. Australia 'A' (109.445)
  2. China (107.038)
  3. Japan (106.612)
  4. Australia 'B' (104.413)
  5. Australia 'C' (100.574)

Men's Team Competition

  1. China (160.800)
  2. Japan (154.920)
  3. Australia 'A' (144.300)
  4. Australia 'B' (132.600)
  5. Australia 'C' (126.000)
USA Coaches Put Faith in Marta Karolyi
// January 10, 2001
In the wake of Bela Karolyi's resignation as USA women's national team coordinator, USA coaches have faith in his possible successor, wife Marta Karolyi, who was nominated this past weekend to assume the role. "We all want to feel like we're personal coaches again, and Marta totally understood that," coach Mary Lee Tracy told IG on Wednesday.

Bela Karolyi, appointed to the role last year by USA Gymnastics president Bob Colarossi, resigned from his position this past weekend at a meeting involving the women's program. The meeting, held at Karolyi's Texas ranch on January 7, was attended by more than 35 coaches and USA Gymnastics staff. The coaches present were unanimous in their support for the role created for Bela, according to Tracy. "The general consensus was that the system worked," said Tracy. "Everybody wants a national team coordinator."

Disagreements between Bela and top USA coaches over the duties of national team coordinator apparently led to his resignation, according to Tracy. "He pretty much says he wants to do everything the way he believes, and with the system that he trained his athletes under," Tracy told IG. "He knows that is not going to work with the coaches in the United States. I feel that that's why he resigned."

Marta, the head coach of the USA women's team at the 2000 Olympics, was instead nominated by the International Elite Committee, composed of coaches Tracy, Kelli Hill, Donna Strauss, Steve Rybacki and Valery Liukin, and athlete representative Chari Knight-Hunter.

"Time will tell, but I do believe that she really wants the position," Tracy told IG of Marta's prospects, "and I believe that she wants to make an effort to do it the way the personal coaches are requesting."

Look for more details on this story in International Gymnast Magazine, and for new developments here on IG Online.

Pavlova to Return to WOGA Classic // January 7, 2001
Russia's Anna Pavlova, the 2000 Junior European champion on uneven bars, is expected again at the WOGA Classic, to be held Jan. 20 in Plano, Texas. "We're flattered to have her back," WOGA spokesperson Tim Gentry told IG this weekend.

Pavlova, who finished third all-around in the junior division of the '00 Classic hosted by World Olympic Gymnastics Academy, leads this year's international field that is expected to include her Russian teammates, plus girls from Ukraine, Australia, Poland, Canada and Uzbekistan.

Surrounding Pavlova in the rankings in the junior division of the '00 Classic were WOGA gymnasts Lindsey Vanden Eykel (first), Kaitlin White (second) and Hollie Vise (fourth).

"Anna's presence really underscores the quality of the meet," Gentry said. "Last year when she came, we didn't realize how good she was. We're excited to be seeing her in action again, and that we will have some of the best international talent competing in our meet."

Scheduled to join Pavlova at the WOGA meet this year are Russian teammates Maria Zasypkina and Natalia Uchevatkina, who with her were members of Russia's gold medal-winning team at the '00 Junior European championships. (Uchevatkina was part of the five-member Russian squad in the latter competition; three gymnasts per country were allowed on each event, and Russia competed only all-arounders Pavlova, Zasypkina and Natalia Ziganshina.)

2000 Olympian Alyona Kvasha, who placed sixth on vault at the '00 European championships, is expected to lead the Ukrainian team. Also on the Ukrainian roster for the WOGA Classic is Natalia Sirobaba, a member of Ukraine's gold medal-winning team at the '98 Junior European championships. Sirobaba placed 15th all-around at the '00 Junior European championships.

Three-time Olympian Oksana Chusovitina of Uzbekistan is also in the tentative WOGA Classic lineup. Now 25 years old and the mother of a young son, Chusovitina won a gold medal with the Unified team at the '92 Olympics, and tied for first place on floor exercise at the '91 world championships.

The WOGA team will feature six elites, including Carly Patterson, who placed second to Pavlova at the Top Gym for Juniors meet in Belgium last fall. Patterson, who came to WOGA from Brown's a few months ago, placed fourth all-around at the '00 U.S. junior championships.

WOGA's other entrants will be Vanden Eykel, White, Vise, Stephanie Gentry and Nicole Childs. Some of these girls are attending the U.S. training camp at Karolyi's this weekend, said Tim Gentry. At the '00 U.S. junior championships, Vanden Eykel was fifth; Vise was seventh; Stephanie Gentry was 10th; and Childs was 21st.

Tim Gentry said WOGA's coaching staff (which includes '88 Olympic all-around silver medallist Valery Liukin and his wife Anna Kochneva, '87 world rhythmic champion with clubs) aims to make the Classic a fixture on the international circuit. "Our mission is to build a competition that attracts the top gymnasts year after year," Gentry told IG. "This year's field again shows the ability of our coaches to put together a world-class event."

Look for coverage of the WOGA Classic in International Gymnast Magazine and here on IG Online.

With this news flash, IG Online introduces a new area, "In Our Spotlight." This monthly feature focuses on select gymnasts from around the world who are making headlines. January's "In Our Spotlight" gymnasts are Pavlova, Romania's Andreea Raducan, Canada's Kyle Shewfelt and France's Eva Serrano. To access "In Our Spotlight," click on the link to the left, or click here.

USA Women's Program Committee to Meet This Weekend // January 6, 2001
Top American coaches, gymnasts, and USA Gymnastics administrative staff are convening in Texas this weekend, January 6-7.

"The Women's Program will be meeting to formulate our stategic plan for the next quadrennium," Kathy Kelly, senior director of the USA's women's program, told IG yesterday. "This is a normal part of our administration and planning."

In addition to the administrative meeting, the first national training camp of the year is also being held at Bela Karolyi's ranch outside Houston. The training camp system was introduced by Karolyi in 2000 to assess physical fitness of national team members, as well as select gymnasts for upcoming meet assignments.

Karolyi was appointed USA women's national team coordinator prior to the 2000 Olympic Games, and the status of his role is expected to be in discussion this weekend.

"The meeting is being conducted at a training camp, and gives us the added plus of including all of the national team coaches in the open forum and discussions," said Kelly, who stated that 35 coaches are expected to be in attendance. "I am expecting a very productive meeting."

Look for more news from Houston on IG Online after the camp's conclusion.

Davydova Hopeful In New Year // January 5, 2001
1980 Olympic all-around champion Yelena Davydova of Russia says she looks forward to a "healthy" 2001 for her family and the young gymnasts she's now training in Canada.

While the new year and new Olympic cycle are just commencing, Davydova already has a promising young talent in Katherine Fairhurst, who turns 13 today. Davydova has been coaching Fairhurst at the Gemini club in Oshawa, Ontario, since Fairhurst was seven years old.

In December '00, Fairhurst dominated the Novice High Performance division of the Elite Canada meet, which she won by almost 2.50 points.

"Katherine learned some new skills in the past year, and has been very successful," Davydova told IG. "We hope she continues with this success."

Davydova says Fairhurst's present strengths are her balance beam performance and dance ability.

"Her movement is a pleasure to watch," says Davydova. "She is a kind of gymnastics ballerina."

Davydova, who in '80 won both the Olympic and USSR Cup all-around titles, has been coaching in Canada since '91. Her most prominent gymnast to date has been '97 Canadian all-around titlist Sarah Deegan. Deegan, who placed 24th all-around at the '97 world championships, is now a university student in Ontario.

Today, IG Online adds Davydova to its roster of past stars whose gymnastics careers and updated personal lives are featured in our area, "Catching Up With..." To access "Catching Up With...", click on the link bar to the left or click here.

Also today, Davydova and two-time men's world all-around champion Dmitry Bilozerchev join the roster of gymnasts profiled in IG Online's archive of gymnastics greats, "Legends." To access "Legends," click on the link on the left, or click here.

Kryukov Aims for 2001 and Beyond // January 2, 2001
Russia's Nikolai Kryukov, whose performance at the 2000 Olympics was hindered by an Achilles injury sustained last spring, told IG this week that he has now completely recovered. Kryukov, the '99 World all-around champion, says he will soon be preparing new routines and is aiming to compete at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.

A member of the '96 Olympic gold medal-winning Russian team, Kryukov slipped to bronze in Sydney with his teammates. "I think our preparation for the Olympic Games was good," he told IG of his team's performance in Sydney. "Everyone was in great shape and we were ready to go, but I guess 'luck' wasn't on our side and we only took bronze."

Kryukov tore his Achilles tendon in early 2000 and, despite his best efforts to recover in time, was unable to compete on all six events at the Olympics. He sat out floor exercise in Sydney, but a few months later is now able to train on the event. "My bad Achilles now feels even better than the other one," he told IG. "When I started tumbling I didn't feel pain and hopefully it's not going to bother me in the future."

Kryukov, who turned 22 on November 11, has been vacationing in the United States for the past month, first visiting longtime friend (and '96 teammate) Dmitry Trush in Iowa. While in Iowa, where Trush is a coach at the Univ. of Iowa, Kryukov showed off the extent his Achilles has healed with high-level training. Trush told IG, "It's been great to have him here in Iowa. We were very excited. All of our gymnasts have known Nikolai from the World Championships and the Olympic Games. Also we knew about his serious injury and how quickly he recovered. Now you can hardly tell that he had a torn Achilles. In practice we saw him doing a handspring double front vault on top of three 8-inch mats. That was amazing."

Like Trush and '86 and '88 Junior European champion Alexander Kolyvanov (who also coaches at the Univ. of Iowa), Kryukov grew up in Voronezh, under the tutelage of Alexander Genkin. Since Genkin moved to Orleans, France, Kryukov has been allowed to divide his time between Orleans and Russia to continue training with his coach.

"Right now I live in Russia and I also compete for a French gymnastics club, so I have to spend some time living in France too. [Russian head coach Leonid] Arkayev doesn't seem to have any problems with it," Kryukov said. Though his current visit to the United States is his second in a year, Kryukov says he has not given any thought to relocating to the USA. "Nobody has talked to me about it," he says. "But I think it would be a good idea because I have a lot of friends here."

After his stay in Iowa, Kryukov headed to Charlotte, N.C. to see girlfriend Rimma Bubenchikova. He will stay in Charlotte until January 15, when he will depart for France to participate in exhibitions and work with Genkin on new routines and new skills. After that he will return to Moscow. "In April I will be competing at the Russian championships; everybody who is on the national team has to show a new program," Kryukov explained to IG. "This will be the first step in preparation for the new Olympic cycle."

Though former Russian teammate Dmitry Karbanenko is now a member of the French team, Kryukov insists his own plans don't include any change in citizenship. "I will try to continue my gymnastics career and get ready for the 2004 Olympic Games, where I will compete on the Russian team," he told IG.

Trush says of his friend Kryukov, "We grew up together in the same gym. I've known him probably my whole life. He is one of those guys that you can count on." Trush says he feels Kryukov has good prospects for the future. "Nikolai is a very talented gymnast, he always shows routines that are different from the others. He also has great experience competing on the international level. It will be great to see him going for his third Olympics."

Read more about Kryukov in the February 2000 issue of International Gymnast Magazine.

Mitova Ready For A Big 2001 // January 1, 2001
2001 promises more success for former Bulgarian star Silvia Mitova, who has moved beyond the neck injury that ended her career after the '92 Olympics. "I'm really happy, and I think I will be even happier in the new year," Mitova told IG this week.

Mitova, now 24 and coaching in Pennsylvania, was Bulgaria's most successful female gymnast in the early '90s until she dislocated two vertebrae in September '92. Now fully recovered, she plans to graduate from college in June 2001. "Everything is going great," Mitova told IG.

With this update on Mitova, International Gymnast Online introduces a new area of the site, Catching Up With. This area profiles retired gymnasts, from their competitive highlights to their post-competitive accomplishments. Catching Up With will be updated regularly, so check back often.

Mitova joins Canada's Leah Homma, Japan's Mari Kosuge, the U.S.'s Phoebe Mills, and Ukraine's Rustam Sharipov in the first group of gymnasts featured in "Catching Up With...". To visit "Catching Up With...", click the link in the left column, or click here.

Past Flashes
February 2001
January 2001
December 2000
November 2000