IG News Archive - July 2003
Lozhechko Wins European Youth Olympic Days // July 31, 2003
Russia's Yulia Lozhechko won the all-around title at the European Youth Olympic Days, held Thursday in Paris.

Lozhechko scored 9.300 on vault and 9.100 on uneven bars to top Ukraine's Daria Zgoba, 36.025-35.500. Zgoba scored the highest score of the day with a 9.425.

Russian Svetlana Klyukina, third, earned the highest score of the day on balance beam with a 9.025.

On Tuesday, Zgoba led Ukraine to first in the team competition. Gymnastics at the European Youth Olympic Days concludes Friday with the event finals.

2003 European Youth Olympic Days
July 31, Paris

All-Around
1. Yulia Lozhechko RUS 36.025
2. Daria Zgoba UKR 35.500
3. Svetlana Klyukina RUS 35.475
4. Lorena Stancu ROM 35.300
5. Giorgia Benecchi ITA 35.075
6. Olga Scherbatykh UKR 34.550
7. Mayra Kroonen NED 34.450
8. Loes Linders NED 34.225
9. Francesca Benolli ITA 33.975
10. Corina Bucurean ROM 33.700
11. Melodi Pulgarin ESP 33.675
12. Samantha Bayley GBR 33.600
13. Rose-Eliandre Bellemare FRA 33.200
14. Nina Werries GER 33.025
15. Caroline Ranc FRA 32.650
16. Lamara Robb GBR 32.150
17. Barbora Surovcikova CZE 31.950
18. Carina Hasenoehrl AUT 31.850
19. Kim Bui GER 31.500
20. Soultana Kosaxi GRE 31.500
21. Lara Marx LUX 31.175
22. Vered Finkel ISR 31.075
23. Bianca Kehrli SUI 30.850
24. Athena Panayi Stavrinaki CYP 30.775

IG Online Related Items
Ukraine Wins European Youth Olympic Days (July 29, 2003)
New Stars Reign in Spain (July 26, 2001)
Romania, Ukraine Strike Gold in Spain (July 25, 2001)
IG Online Interview: Yevgenia Kuznetsova

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Kozich profile (August/September 2002)
Kuznetsova profile (February 2002)
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German Women, Chusovitina Tune Up in Utah // July 31, 2003
Having arrived Tuesday in Utah, the German women's team and Uzbekistan's Oksana Chusovitina are training together for next month's World Championships in Anaheim.

Chusovitina, a three-time Olympian, updated IG from Salt Lake City on the latest developments regarding her participation at Worlds and on the health of her three-year-old son, Alisher.

Chusovitina said she will compete for Uzbekistan in Anaheim, although Uzbekistan has very recently given her permission to compete for Germany. She has been training in Germany in order to be close to Alisher, who has been undergoing treatment for acute lymphocytic leukemia at the University of Cologne hospital.

"Uzbekistan gave me permission to compete for the German team, but the German government requires that I must live in Germany for three years before I can compete for them," said Chusovitina, 28. "I would like to compete for Germany in gratitude for their support in the treatment of my son, but this is not possible at the moment."

Chusovitina said Alisher is "doing well right now."

"He is being checked weekly, but everyone is cautiously optimistic for a good result," said Chusovitina. "Since he is only three, the only thing he wants is for his mother to return to him as quickly as possible."

Chusovitina's best finishes at Worlds to date include gold medals on floor exercise (tie) and in the team competition in 1991; and silver medals on vault in 1991 and 2001. She won the bronze medal on vault in 1992, 1993 and 2002.

In all-around competition at Worlds, Chusovitina placed 18th in 1993, and 19th in 1995 and 2001.

Chusovitina and the German women's team will continue training at the University of Utah until August 8, when they will travel to Anaheim for Worlds that begin August 16.

In 1990, Chusovitina won the all-around title at the U.S. Olympic Cup, held on the campus of the university. Germany's Sylvio Kroll placed second all-around in the men's competition.

According to Utah coach Greg Marsden, several individuals were involved in the arrangements for the German women's team to train in Salt Lake City. He said German team manager Petra Nissinen emailed him to inquire about training prospects at Utah prior to the team's departure for Anaheim. Dr. Peter Brüggemann, father of Anaheim entrant Lisa Brüggemann, visited the Utah facilities while attending the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. Gritt Hofmann, a member of Germany's eighth-place team at the 2001 Worlds, currently competes for Utah. Angelika Schatton, a member of Germany's 13th-place team at the 1994 Worlds, later competed for Utah.

"(Dr. Brüggemann) spent some time with us in the gym," said Marsden. "I'm sure that, between his report and Gritt, they knew this would be an ideal training situation for them. It is the same equipment used at Worlds, and since the university team is not training during the summer, the gym is completely theirs during their stay."

Marsden said Nissinen also asked if Chusovitina could train at Utah with the Germans, and arranged for an additional room for her.

"Everything is going very well," Marsden said. "Both Gritt and Angelika are here in Salt Lake City, and are thrilled to have their former team training here."

According to Nissinen, the German women aim to place among the top 12 in Anaheim, thereby earning a full team berth to the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. Germany placed 15th at the 1999 Worlds and eighth at the 2001 Worlds.

"It is possible," said Nissinen. "The team is healthy and their routines are ready to go. I believe it will be very competitive among the teams from ninth to 15th place. Germany can do it, but the gymnasts must have a good, consistent competition. I believe it will be to our advantage to compete with the U.S. team in the final session, provided the athletes do a good job."

Nissinen said team veterans Birgit Schweigert and Brüggemann are in good shape following post-2001 Worlds injuries.

"They are all healthy right now," Nissinen told IG. "Both Birgit and Lisa will be important. Birgit is the most experienced and Lisa has the greatest degree of difficulty. Katja Abel, Daria Bijak and Yvonne Musik will all be very important to the team's success. Each must have a good performance for the team to accomplish its goal to qualify as a team to the Olympics."

Abel, the reigning German all-around champion, was a member of the German team that placed eighth at the 2001 Worlds in Ghent. Her mother, Irene Abel, competed for the German Democratic Republic at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, where she won a team silver medal and placed 11th all-around.

In all-around competition, Schweigert placed 24th at the 1999 Worlds and 27th at the 2001 Worlds.

Schweigert said she feels healthy and confident when comparing her current routines to former ones. "Everything is good now," she told IG from Salt Lake City. "I am ready to have a strong performance in Anaheim. Vault is the same. Bars is a higher Start Value. On beam, I have new leaps and jumps but the rest is the same. My floor composition is about the same, but the choreography is new. My team goal for Anaheim is to qualify as a team for the Olympics. My personal goal is to compete my routines as well as I can."

IG Online Related Items
Chusovitina's Son Diagnosed With Leukemia (October 21, 2002)
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"Catching Up With Sylvio Kroll" (February 2003)
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Chusovitina on cover (June/July 2001)
"Mom's The Word" - Chusovitina profile (May 2000)
"Old Power, New Presence" - Chusovitina interview (January 1996)
1990 U.S. Olympic Cup report (September 1990)

To subscribe to IG magazine or order back issues, click here.

Deferr Stripped of World Medal // July 30, 2003
2000 Olympic vaulting champion Gervasio Deferr (Spain) will be stripped of his 2002 world silver medal because of a positive marijuana test prior to worlds, the International Gymnastics Federation announced Wednesday.

Last October, Deferr tested positive for marijuana at both the Spanish Championships and subsequent French International. As punishment, the Spanish Sports Council suspended Deferr for three months in the spring of 2003.

Following the suspension by the Spanish Sports Council, the FIG Disciplinary Commission announced it would investigate the punishment. Today the Commission announced Deferr's three month suspension would be retroactive to the date of the first test.

"The exclusion operates retrospectively from 19 October 2002, being the date of the first drug test, in accordance with the Doping Control Rules," announced the FIG. "The results achieved in the World Cup events in Paris and Stuttgart, as well as those of the World Championships in Debrecen will be removed from the lists. The sanction also required the gymnast to refund any prize money and to give the medals back."

Deferr won the silver medal on floor exercise at the 2002 World Championships, held in Debrecen, Hungary, in November. Bronze medalist Jordan Jovtchev will receive Deferr's silver, and fourth-place Paul Hamm will receive the bronze.

According to the FIG, Spain did not appeal the Commision's decision by the July 24 deadline.

Deferr is the first gymnast in FIG history to be stripped of a world championship medal. In 2000, Romanian Andreea Raducan was stripped of her all-around gold medal at the Olympic Games after testing positive for a banned stimulant ingested via cold tablets.

IG Online Related Items
Deferr Tests Positive for Marijuana (February 19, 2003)
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To subscribe to IG magazine or order back issues, click here.

Ukraine Wins European Youth Olympic Days // July 29, 2003
Ukraine won the team title Monday at the European Youth Olympic Days in Paris, a multisport event held biannually. The event features women's gymnastics for athletes born in 1988 and 1989.

Ukraine defeated the Netherlands and Russia. The team was led by newcomer Daria Zgoba, who earned the highest individual score of Monday's meet with 9.475 on uneven bars (10.00 Start Value).

Italy's Giorgia Benecchi topped Zgoba individually in the all-around qualification, 35.925 to 35.825. The all-around final will be held Wednesday. Russia's Yulia Lozhechko was third with 35.700.

Besides Zgoba on uneven bars, the only 10.00 SV in the meet came from Spain's Melodie Pulgarin on floor exercise. Pulgarin, the only athlete for Spain, earned the high score of the day on floor with a 9.025.

The Russian team earned the highest total on vault and tied Netherlands for the top floor total. The Russians suffered from breaks on beam, where their total was only fifth. Ukraine scored the highest on uneven bars and fourth-placed Romania outscored the field on beam.

Past winners of the European Youth Olympic Days include Ukraine's Anna Shakhoval (1993), Olga Roschupkina (1999), and Alina Kozich (2001), and Russia's Yevgenia Kuznetsova (1995) and Anna Kovalyova (1997).

2003 European Youth Olympic Days
July 29, Paris

Team Competition
1. Ukraine 71.125
2. Netherlands 70.850
3. Russia 70.750
4. Romania 70.700
5. Italy 70.150
6. France 67.825
7. Germany 65.975
8. Great Britain 65.675
9. Austria 63.625
9. Greece 63.625
11. Switzerland 62.925
12. Israel 62.250
13. Czech Republic 61.850
14. Luxembourg 61.825
15. Finland 61.425
16. Latvia 61.225
17. Slovakia 60.700
18. Iceland 59.900
19. Polond 59.625
20. Belarus 59.175
21. Portugal 58.125
22. Lithuania 58.050
23. Turkey 53.550

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Coach Making Comeback // July 29, 2003
Coach Ivan Mihaylov, who was in critical condition after suffering a heart attack in May, is making a strong recovery. His family reports they have been overwhelmed by the gymnastics community's outpouring of support for Mihaylov, who has been dubbed "The Miracle Coach" by staff at a Houston hospital.

Mihaylov, 53, was employed at Bill Austin's Gymnastics in Houston when he suffered the heart attack at home on May 14. Daughter Maria Mihaylova recalled the weeks following as a time of despair for his family and friends. He was on life support at Houston's Memorial Hermann Hospital, and the family given a poor prognosis for his recovery, she said.

"There was not a single piece of good news, except that he had not also suffered a stroke," she said. "Nobody gave us any hope. It was the most difficult moment in our lives. Questions, hospitals, phone calls, sadness and silence were everywhere. We felt like we were in a movie."

From 1975 to 1989, Mihaylov served as the head coach for the Bulgarian women's team. He was the personal coach of 1982 American Cup co-winner and 1981 world bronze medalist Zoya Grancharova, as well as national team members Kamelia Troyanova, Deliana Glucheva, and Yulia Hristova. He moved to Mexico in 1989, and to the United States in 1995.

At the time of his heart attack, Mihaylov had no health insurance to cover the cost of his medical care. An article about Mihaylov's situation appeared on IG Online on June 9, and was reprinted in Bulgaria's top newspaper the following day. With Mihaylov still in critical condition, the family heard from friends around the world.

"Shannon Miller contacted me right away and helped in every way she could," said Mihaylova. "Zoya called our friends because she could not reach us at home. His former gymnasts from Mexico were calling every day. Yulia Hristova called me twice every day with the same question, 'How is he doing?' Cards and notes and a huge poster were hanging on the walls of his room. Nurses and doctors would stop by just to see all of them. But still, we had no hope for his recovery. His gymnast were everywhere—in the hospital, on the phone and sending cards. I will never forget one of his gymnasts looking at him and saying, 'Wake up, Ivan!'"

Slowly, Mihaylov began to regain strength. His fight for his life was a testimony to what he had taught in the gym, said his daughter.

"As always, my dad taught us the one lesson that he had always taught, 'Don't give up!'" she said. "He did not give up! He started to breathe on his own. He started to move. He looked at us. Now, he talks. He recognizes us. Everybody at the hospital calls him 'The Miracle Coach.'"

Mihaylov was eventually transferred to a rehabilitation center for physical, occupational, and speech therapy. Last week, he returned to the hospital for surgery to repair his damaged heart.

Mihaylova asked IG to publish an open letter to the gymnastics community to thank those who have helped the family with their support for her father.

"Our family wants to thank Bill and Tita Austin for their unconditional 24/7 support in every possible way," she wrote. "They are part of our family now. We would like to thank Kathy Kelly, Bela and Marta Karolyi, the Bulgarian Gymnastics Federation, the Mexican Gymnastics Federation, Shannon Miller and all the coaches from everywhere who sent letters to the rehabilitation center, so they could give us a discount for my dad's therapy. Thanks to our friends Toni and Vassil for helping us with that. Thanks to TIRR for working out with us. Thanks to all our friends who took care of our home while we were at the hospital. Thanks to the people who called doctors and hospitals to help deal with the paperwork. Thanks to the people who came from all over the world to see my dad. Thanks to our angel Didi from Bulgaria. Thanks for all the prayers and help from everybody that made this miracle possible. Thank you for caring about Ivan Mihaylov."

Donation information:
Bank of Texas
15245 S.W. Freeway
Sugar Land, TX 77478
(Make checks out to: "FBO Ivan P. Mihaylov")

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To subscribe to IG magazine or order back issues, click here.

France Wins in Dresden // July 20, 2003
Women's teams from Bulgaria, France, Germany, and Spain met Saturday in Dresden, Germany. France won the team title, but Spanish world floor champion Elena Gomez topped the all-around standings.

France was led by first-year senior Emilie Lepennec. Lepennec, second all-around, earned the highest score of the day with a 9.625 on uneven bars. Lepennec's teammate Coralie Chacon won vault with a 9.400. Gomez earned the high score on beam (9.325) and floor (9.550).

Germany, third, and Bulgaria, fourth, suffered from missed routines and low Start Values, with only one 10.00 Start Value each. Both 10.00 SV came on uneven bars, with Katja Abel (Germany) scoring 9.475 and Viktoria Karpenko (Bulgaria) scoring 9.400.

GER vs BUL vs FRA vs ESP
Dresden, July 26, 2003

Team Competition
1. France 146.425
2. Spain 144.525
3. Germany 141.175
4. Bulgaria 135.975

All-Around
1. Elena Gomez ESP 37.575
2. Emilie Lepennec FRA 36.925
3. Marine Debauve FRA 36.100
4. Camille Schmutz FRA 35.975
5. Patricia Moreno ESP 35.675
6. Yvonne Musik GER 35.600
7. Viktoria Karpenko BUL 35.550
8. Katja Abel GER 35.225
9. Birgit Schweigert GER 35.175
10. Lenika de Simone ESP 35.050
11. Daria Bijak GER 34.650
12. Yevgenia Kuznetsova BUL 34.325
13. Lisa Brüggemann GER 33.875
14. Ralitsa Rangelova BUL 32.175

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To subscribe to IG magazine or order back issues, click here.

Chusovitina to Go Straight to Worlds // July 27, 2003
Uzbekistan's Oksana Chusovitina has decided to skip a pre-worlds training camp in the U.S. to stay in Germany with her three-year-old son Alisher, who is suffering from leukemia.

On July 19, coach Svetlana Kuznetsova and gymnast Alexandra Gordeyeva arrived in San Francisco to train before the 2003 World Championships, which will take place in Anaheim August 16-24. Chusovitina had originally planned to travel with them to attend the training camp at San Mateo Gymnastics in Belmont, but chose to stay with Alisher. She is currently making plans to travel directly to Anaheim, said a team spokesperson.

Though Chusovitina is still training at the club Toyota Cologne, Kuznetsova expressed worry that she may choose not to attend Worlds if Alisher's health takes a turn for the worse.

"Right now I am not sure if Oksana will compete, but I hope she can," said Kuznetsova. "It all depends on Alisher's health."

Alisher was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) last year. He has been undergoing treatment at the University of Cologne hospital in Germany since last fall. Initial reports on his progress were optimistic, but the first three rounds of aggressive chemotherapy were not effective and a fourth round is necessary.

The spokesperson also dispelled rumors that the Uzbekistan Gymnastics Federation has given permission for Chusovitina to compete for Germany in Anaheim. Though Uzbekistan did receive a request from the German Gymnastics Federation to release her, it was promptly denied, said the spokesperson, who noted that such a decision would have to be made by the Uzbek government.

"There would have to be hearings on the matter in the Ministry of Sport," said the spokesperson. "It would take two to three months, so it is impossible such a thing would happen in the time before Anaheim."

Though Chusovitina has competed for the Toyota Cologne team in the German club league for several years, she had continually rejected offers to represent Germany internationally. However, Chusovitina agreed to compete for Germany in Anaheim if Uzbekistan would release her, said the spokesperson, because she hoped it would mean guaranteed, continued treatment for her son. (Over $100,000 was raised for Alisher's initial treatment, and more will need to be raised to fund further treatment.)

Uzbekistan is not sending a full team to the 2003 World Championships, which serve as the qualification for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. Either Chusovitina or Gordeyeva will need a strong performance in Anaheim to earn individual berths for Uzbekistan in 2004. Chusovitina, who competed in the 1992, 1996, and 2000 Olympic Games, has apparently not given up her goal of a fourth Olympic Games.

"Every time I've spoken with Oksana recently, she has said how much she really wants to be at the Olympics next year," said the spokesperson.

Gordeyeva also has a strong desire to be in Athens, said Kuznetsova. Though the 22-year-old is a veteran of the 1995, 1997, and 1999 World Championships, Kuznetsova describes her as "a new gymnast."

"At the [recent] national championships, people said, 'Who is that? That can't be Sasha Gordeyeva!'" laughed Kuznetsova. "I have worked very hard to change her psychologically. I want her to believe she can do it—that she, too, can receive good results."

While training at San Mateo, Gordeyeva has been taking advantage of the in-ground foam pits—unavailable in Uzbekistan—to learn new vaults of piked Rudi and 1 1/2- and double-twisting Yurchenkos.

"The Rudi is new for Sasha but old for me," joked Kuznetsova of the vault introduced by Chusovitina. "We hope to have this vault ready for Anaheim as her primary vault, and a Yurchenko as her second vault."

Gordeyeva, a native of Chirchik, left coach Andrei Nilov last year to work with Kuznetsova. She is currently polishing a new floor routine that includes four tumbling passes: tucked full-in, 2 1/2 twist punch layout front, double pike, and triple twist. Gordeyeva, who will turn 23 on September 14, has also upgraded her dismounts on both beam and uneven bars.

"At the 1999 Worlds, her attitude was that maybe she could qualify a spot for Uzbekistan in 2000, for Oksana to go," said Kuznetsova. "Now, she wants the Olympic experience for herself. We talk all the time now about the Olympic Games."

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To subscribe to IG magazine or order back issues, click here.

Australian Women Eager For Anaheim // July 24, 2003
"I would hope that, if we perform our program according to plan, we will be in the team finals," Australian coach Peggy Liddick told IG this week of her hopes for next month's World Championships.

Liddick confirmed that the following seven gymnasts have been named to the Australian team for Worlds, which will take place August 16-24 in Anaheim: Allana Slater, Lisa Skinner, Monette Russo, Belinda Archer, Jacqui Dunn, Danielle Kelly and Stephanie Moorhouse. Six of these gymnasts will compete. Liddick said she will designate the non-competing team alternate after podium training in Anaheim.

At the Australian Championships in May, Slater, Kelly and Russo finished first through third all-around, respectively. Skinner, a 1996 and 2000 Olympian, placed fourth. Dunn, a 2001 Worlds finalist on uneven bars, was also a member of the Australian team that placed a record-high fifth at the 1999 Worlds.

"Our senior leadership is great, with Lisa, Allana and Jacqui combined having three Olympic Games and seven World Championships among them," said Liddick. "Belinda and Danielle are said to be the surprises of the team, to all but myself. I knew the two of them would come through; they just needed a little time to develop. I think Monette will open some eyes. She has it all and is a solid competitor. Many judges and coaches commented positively on her performance in the Netherlands (eight-nation meet held this past spring)."

Liddick said Slater, Skinner and Russo will most likely be the team's all-around competitors in Anaheim. At the 1999 Worlds, Slater and Skinner placed ninth and 16th all-around, respectively. At the 2001 Worlds, Slater placed 22nd all-around. In team standings, Australia was fifth at the 1999 Worlds and seventh at the 2001 Worlds.

The top 12 team finishers in Anaheim will earn team berths to the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. Australia placed seventh at the 2000 Olympic Games held in Sydney. Skinner and Slater finished eighth and 16th all-around, respectively, in Sydney.

"All is well so far, all are healthy and in good spirits," said Liddick. "We are working hard to develop consistency, as I am sure everyone else is. Again, our main goal is to qualify a team to the Olympic Games in Athens. We are bunkered in and training hard."

Liddick said she is confident in the team's prospects and its enthusiasm so far.

"I do not like to make too specific predictions, as we cannot control anything but our performances," she told IG. "It has been one of the most enjoyable preparations I have been involved with. All the girls are very enthusiastic and want to do the work. I hope, for their sake, they have a good outing in Anaheim."

Read profiles on Skinner and Dunn in the June/July 2003 issue of International Gymnast magazine; and read a profile on Moorhouse in the April 2003 issue.

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To subscribe to IG magazine or order back issues, click here.

Injuries Put Bulgarian Dream in Doubt // July 20, 2003
Recent injuries have sidelined two of Bulgaria's top female gymnasts, national champion Gergana Ivanova and 2002 Worlds semi-finalist Nikolina Tankusheva. The injuries have dashed the hopes of the Bulgarians, who had hoped to qualify a full team to the 2004 Olympic Games at next month's world championships in Anaheim.

"Without these two gymnasts, our vision of an Olympic team qualification now seems like a mirage," head coach Georgy Videnov told IG Sunday.

Ivanova, 15, suffered an injury to her ankle last month. At the Bulgarian national championships in early June, she topped naturalized citizen Viktoria Karpenko to win the all-around. She is still training at the national sports center in Sofia, concentrating on the uneven bars.

Tankusheva, 17, tore ligaments in her left foot training on balance beam on July 13.

"I was doing a jump to back tuck combination, and my right foot completely missed the beam," explained Tankusheva. "I landed only on my left foot."

At the 2002 World Championships in Debrecen, Tankusheva qualified to the semi-finals on both vault and floor exercise. She said she is still doing conditioning every day, and medical specialists are coming regularly to check on her foot. Though she is planning to travel to Anaheim for the World Championships, she will likely be unable to compete.

The Bulgarian women's team had been working to qualify for the 2004 Olympic Games by placing in the top 12 at the 2003 World Championships. Twenty-seventh at the 1999 World Championships, the team finished 14th at the 2001 Worlds and eighth at the 2002 Europeans. Videnov said he had been expecting to rely mainly on four scores each in Anaheim from Ivanova, Karpenko, Tankusheva, and former Russian Olympian Yevgenia Kuznetsova.

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To subscribe to IG magazine or order back issues, click here.

Patterson Fast Returning to Form // July 17, 2003
Visa American Cup champion Carly Patterson (USA) says she is recovered from the elbow injury that she suffered earlier this summer.

Patterson, who was diagnosed with a radial fracture to her elbow at the end of May, sat out competition in June to let the injury heal. She is fast returning to form, she says, having benefited from a consistent conditioning regimen during her recovery.

"I am back doing full routines on all events," Patterson, 15, told IG Wednesday. "I started double-twisting Yurchenkos this week. Nothing is bothering my arm at this point. I did my usual conditioning, but it helped me to stay in shape while I was off my arms."

Patterson, who was the junior national champion in 2002, petitioned to the world team selection camp that took place the first week of July. At the conclusion of the camp, Patterson was named to the team alongside Courtney Kupets, Tasha Schwikert, Hollie Vise, Annia Hatch, and Ashley Postell.

"I was very excited to be chosen for the Worlds team," said Patterson, who trains alongside Vise at World Olympic Gymnastics Academy in Plano, Texas. "We were at camp when they announced the team. I was nervous before they announced it, but was very excited and happy when they named me to the team. It felt good to know they believed in me."

Patterson said she is eager to again perform the new floor exercise routine she debuted at this spring's International Gymnastics Hall of Fame Classic (see link before to download a video clip). She said coach Yevgeny Marchenko selected the big-band music, and that WOGA choreography Tatiana Schegolkova is still helping polish the routine.

"I worked with Tatiana on it for a couple of weeks when I was learning it," Patterson told IG. "Tatiana [still] helps me and corrects me on it regularly. I liked the music right away and felt it was more my personality. I am very happy with the music Yevgeny picked and the routine Tatiana choreographed. I think it fits my style."

Read "Steady As She Grows," an in-depth profile on Patterson's life in and out of the gym, in the March 2003 issue of International Gymnast Magazine.

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To subscribe to IG magazine or order back issues, click here.

Dutch Team for Worlds Announced // July 16, 2003
The women's team that will represent the Netherlands at next month's World Championships in Anaheim was announced this afternoon.

The six gymnasts named to the team are Verona van de Leur, Gabriella Wammes, Laura van Leeuwen, Monique Nuijten, Renske Endel and Suzanne Harmes.

At the press conference, national head coach Frank Louter stressed that this team of six is the nominative team that will be registered with the FIG. The definitive team will be decided after the last training camp, which concludes on July 25th. Still in contention are Shalina Groenveld, Loes Linders, Mayra Kroonen, Berber van den Berg, and Evi Neijssen.

IG Online Related Items
Harmes Takes Dutch Title (June 14, 2003)
Dutch Title Up For Grabs (June 13, 2003)
Spotlight Gymnast: Verona van de Leur
Spotlight Gymnast: Renske Endel

IG Magazine Related Items
2002 Dutch Championships - short report (Aug/Sept 2002)
"Destiny's Child" - Wammes family profile (Aug/Sept 2002)
"Fame Resistant" - van de Leur cover story (May 2002)
"Her Finest Hour" - Endel interview (May 2002)
"Valentijn's Day" - profile (June/July 2001)

To subscribe to IG magazine or order back issues, click here.

Canada Announces World Teams // July 14, 2003
The Canadian Gymnastics Federation announced yesterday its men's and women's teams for next month's world championships and Pan American Games.

Heather Purnell and Melanie Banville, both of the Ottawa Gymnastics Centre, earned automatic berths on both teams Sunday by placing first and second at the trials held this past weekend in Toronto.

The rest of the squad was picked by a selection committee. According to the Canadian Federation, selection criteria was based not only on performance at the trials but on competition results since November 2002.

Joining Purnell and Banville at the worlds in Anaheim next month will be reigning Canadian national champion Gael Mackie (British Columbia), Amelie Plante (Quebec) Richelle Simpson (Ontario/Nebraska), Kylie Stone (Alberta) and Lydia Williams (Ontario). The Pan Am Games team is the same with Plante as the alternate.

"The plan is to qualify Canada [as a full team] to the Olympics," said Ottawa coach Tobie Gorman. "It's been the plan from the beginning, and we're going to do it. The girls, all of them, have been getting better and better all year and are committed to doing our job at World Championships."

The final selection also took place for the men's teams for the same two events. Eight gymnasts were in Calgary for the past week training in the first of two camps.

The 2003 world team will be Grant Golding (Alberta), David Kikuchi (Nova Scotia), Kyle Shewfelt (Alberta), Alexander Jeltkov (Quebec), Richard Ikeda (Ontario), Ken Ikeda (British Columbia) and Casey Sandy (Ontario).

The team for the Pan American Games will be Rhett Stinson, Adam Wong (Alberta), Jared Walls (Ontario), Nathan Gafuik (Alberta), Eric Kafka (Ontario) and Brandon O'Neill (Ontario).

IG Online Related Items
Purnell Leads Canadian Trials (July 12, 2003)
Canadian World Trials Preview (July 12, 2003)
NCAA Champion On Track for Worlds (July 2, 2003)
Mackie, Ikeda Win Canadian Championships (May 22, 2003)
Purnell Present, Observing at Canadian Championships (May 22, 2003)
IG Online Interview: Kyle Shewfelt

IG Magazine Related Items
Simpson center poster, NCAA Championships report (June/July 2003)
Plante profile (June/July 2003)
"Staying Power" - Purnell profile (May 2003)
"Canadian Standout" - Mackie profile (January 2003)
Wong profile (January 2003)
Shewfelt profile (November 2002)
"Meet the Canadian Champs" - Richard Ikeda profile (June/July 2003)
Shewfelt profile (January 2001)
"Canada Can" - team profile (January 2001)

To subscribe to IG magazine or order back issues, click here.

Ottawa On Top in Toronto // July 13, 2003
Ottawa teammates Heather Purnell and Melanie Banville earned Canada's automatic berths to the 2003 Pan American Games and World Championships today at the team trials in Toronto.

"I'm just so happy we're there together," Purnell, 17, told IG with a grin. "We've both worked so hard. It makes [being on the team] so much better."

Banville, 16, agreed. "It's more special that I get to go with my teammate, but I wasn't expecting anything" she said. "This was pretty close to one of my best meets ever."

Purnell (73.125) started off the competition hitting a clean Yurchenko 1 1/2 on vault (9.2) with a small step on the landing. She improved her bars over the day one (cleaner transitions, 9.000) and saved a fall on beam (8.800) on her risky wolf 1 1/2, a skill she hopes will bear her name after Anaheim. Her best score of the day, 9.500, came on floor where she played off the crowd's energy for three great landings (piked full-in, consecutive front layout-fulls, double pike) and first place.

Banville (72.950) started the day in fourth, but climbed up to second place. Though her two-day bar total was the highest of the competition (despite hitting her head on the bar in training), she stood out on floor with solid landings. Helping Banville along was teammate Purnell, who yelled encouragement throughout Banville's routine. Banville's 9.350 (piked full-in, 1 1/2 through to triple full, double pike) was good enough to edge out Lydia Williams in the final rotation.

"We had our hopes [of a 1-2 finish] coming in, but they still had to do their jobs," Ottawa coach Tobie Gorman said following an exuberant post-meet celebration. "It's pretty amazing. We couldn't be any prouder."

The remaining athletes who will make up the team will be chosen by a selection committee, consisting of Women's Program Director Lise Simard, head coach Andrei Rodionenko (National team head coach), and judges Lynn Smith and Kathy Stoesz. The team will be announced Monday. Unlike the U.S, which will send separate squads to each competition, Canada's selection procedure states some athletes can be named to both teams.

"I think [Pan Ams] will be good preparation for Worlds," Williams told IG. "That way you don't have peak twice, you can stay at a high and be completely ready."

Williams, 16, achieved her pre-meet goal of proving she is a serious contender for one of the remaining team berths. Her scores of 9.325 on beam (consecutive flairs; one arm flip-flop, back tuck; punch front; double turn) and 9.300 on floor helped her to finish half a tenth out of second place.

Amelie Plante, fourth, hit all four events today. On bars she performed a clean Def for a 9.025. Plante hit beam with a round off layout series and cartwheel double full dismount for a 9.15.

Sixth yesterday, Gael Mackie (Omega) moved up one spot today with improved vault and bars and a solid beam. Kylie Stone (Stampede City) suffered several large errors to go from second yesterday to seventh today. Stone hit a Khorkina vault, but peeled off the bar on a healy in the second rotation. Stone followed with three falls on beam and one on floor.

Richelle Simpson maintained her position despite a few breaks of her own. Simpson, (Univ. of Nebraska), had problems on vault (fall on Yurchenko 1 1/2) and bars (fell over the bar on overshoot, but covered well). On beam, she missed valuable connections and removed some of her bonus elements for an 8.750. On floor she landed her final pass of two whips through to double pike low and stumbled forward; however, she managed to keep her knee from touching the ground and earned a 9.325. Still, coach Adrian Burde said he was pleased with her competition, and made a case for her inclusion on the team.

"With all her new elements, I didn't expect her to be perfect," Burde said. "I'm impressed with all she's been able to do in such a short time. When she hits she can score nicely on beam and vault, and she has the best floor routine with the highest Start Value. She's going to get so much better—she just needs more time."

2002 Canadian champion Danielle Hicks finished 11th, though she improved on her day one total by almost two full points. Though she has been struggling with injuries to her ankle and back, Hicks hit four-for-four today.

2000 Olympian Michelle Conway was on hand to watch the competition. Conway, who attended UCLA as a freshman and Iowa as a sophomore, says injuries have forced her to retire.

""I have three stress fractures in my lumbar spine," said Conway. "I've been trying to heal them and they haven't been healing. I don't know how long they've been there, at least a year if not two, but they've gotten worse. I decided about three weeks ago that this was the best decision to make. I mean, I want to be able to walk in five years. I'm going to take a position as the [Iowa] team manager and choreographer, coach, and help out the team."

Canadian World/Pan Am Trials for Women
Toronto, July 13

Final Results:
1. Heather Purnell (Ottawa) 73.125
2. Melanie Banville (Ottawa) 72.950
3. Lydia Williams (Seneca) 72.875
4. Amelie Plante (Gymnix) 72.300
5. Gael Mackie (Omega) 71.750
6. Richelle Simpson (Nebraska) 70.325
7. Kylie Stone (Stampede City) 69.900
8. Laura-Ann Chong (Twisters) 68.325
9. Natasha Gowda (Flicka) 66.800
10. Traci Rai (Flicka) 66.800
11. Danielle Hicks (ASF) 66.675
12. Amanda Gering (Champions) 55.200
13. Jennifer Simbhudas (Winstonettes) 50.650 (no bars)
14. Vanessa Meloche 9.200, 9.450, 9.200, 9.375 (four bar routines only)

IG Online Related Items
Purnell Leads Canadian Trials (July 12, 2003)
Canadian World Trials Preview (July 12, 2003)
NCAA Champion On Track for Worlds (July 2, 2003)
Mackie, Ikeda Win Canadian Championships (May 22, 2003)
Purnell Present, Observing at Canadian Championships (May 22, 2003)

IG Magazine Related Items
Simpson center poster, NCAA Championships report (June/July 2003)
Plante profile (June/July 2003)
"Staying Power" - Purnell profile (May 2003)
"Canadian Standout" - Mackie profile (January 2003)
"Canada Can" - team profile (January 2001)

To subscribe to IG magazine or order back issues, click here.

U.S. Men's Squad Finalized // July 13, 2003
The final USA men's team for worlds was announced Sunday following a training camp at Ohio State.

2000 Olympians Morgan Hamm and Blaine Wilson and 2001 World team silver medalists Raj Bhavsar and Brett McClure were added to the team which already included 2003 national champion Paul Hamm and runner-up Jason Gatson. Hamm and Gatson were previously named to the team based on their results at the 2003 U.S. Championships in Milwaukee.

Sixteen-year-old Sasha Artemev and Guard Young are the team alternates.

Look for a 2003 World Championships Preview, plus coverage of the 2003 U.S. National Championships, in the August/September issue of International Gymnast Magazine.

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Event Coverage: 2001 World Championships

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"Stepping Up" - McClure interview (April 2003)
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Wilson mini-poster (May 2001)
Wilson on cover (October 1999)
"Family Matters" - Artemev profile (December 1998)
2002 U.S. Nationals coverage (October 2002)
2001 Worlds coverage (January 2002)
"On the Level" - Wilson profile (May 1997)

To subscribe to IG magazine or order back issues, click here.

Purnell Leads Canadian Trials // July 12, 2003
Heather Purnell leads after one day of competition at the Canadian World and Pam American team trials, followed by Kylie Stone and Amelie Plante. Of the fourteen athletes who competed today, the top seven all-around finishers are separated by a little over one point.

Purnell, who unable to compete at nationals this year because of injury, (36.575) showed no signs of missed training time. Beginning the competition on vault, she stuck a high Yurchenko 1 1/2 for a 9.35 and the early lead. She took her lowest score on uneven bars, where she was clean but not spectacular (8.800/9.400 SV), with a giant full to Gienger and full twisting double tuck dismount (near stuck). Her tricky beam routine earned an 8.975 (9.8 SV) and included a 1 1/2-twisting wolf jump. Her highest score came on floor, where she tumbled a high piked full-in, consecutive front layout fulls, and double pike dismount.

"I was happy that I could come back from my injury," said Purnell. "I competed like I did before I got hurt."

Stone, in second by less than two tenths, showed power on vault (Khorkina, 9.200) and floor (tucked full-in, Arabian double front, whip to double pike) for a 9.200 (9.9 SV). Though she bounced off the beam on a piked front mount, she recovered well to hit the remainder of her set, including a one-arm flip flop layout and a side somi.

"I'm really pleased with everything I did today," Stone told IG. "I'm just really excited and happy."

Plante finished third with a 36.125 and the day's highest score on bars. Despite struggling in training, Plante hit when it counted (Def, free-hip full, giant 1 1/2, giant full, Gienger, double layout; 10 SV) for a 9.525. A fall on beam dropped her score there to an 8.5, but she recovered well to hit her upgraded floor routine (Arabian double front; piked full-in; whip to double full; double pike) for a 9.200.

Melanie Banville, fourth, and Lydia Williams, fifth, are within a tenth of each other, with scores of 36.025 and 35.950, respectively. Banville's best effort was bars (9.400) where she hit a clean Tkatchev and double layout dismount, less than 24 hours after hitting her head on the bar in training. She made a mistake on vault, completing only a Yurchenko-full instead of a planned 1 1/2 twist (she finished the last half twist after her feet hit the floor), which scored only 8.775. Williams had the third highest score on floor (9.350) where she showed dramatic choreography and well-rotated jump combinations.

In sixth place is national champion Gael Mackie, who came back after a fall on bars to earn the day's highest score on beam. Mackie worked through her difficult set (front aerial, switch side; one-arm flip-flop, layout; switch ring to back handspring swingdown, double tuck dismount) with confidence.

"I fell on my clear-hip full, which is a new skill for me," she explained of her early mistake. "I need to stay on bars tomorrow and be clean everywhere else."

Richelle Simpson, 7th, had problems on bars (missed one foot on a toe-shoot to high, but managed to stay on) as well as her bonus combinations on beam (split-full to straight jump full; switch leap, side aerial, split-half).

"It's my first time competing that routine, so I wasn't expecting it to be perfect," said Simpson, 20. "I just have a lot of new skills I'm trying to put together, and I'm not used to all of that physically or mentally. I'm glad I get another shot tomorrow."

Simpson came back strong in the final rotation on floor, hitting both her usual tumbling (huge double layout; front double full; two whips through to double pike) and new dance combinations (cat leap double to cat leap 1 1/2; double turn with leg at horizontal to split jump full) to earn a 9.55 (10.00 SV) and a huge response from the crowd.

2002 Canadian senior champion Danielle Hicks committed several errors to finish 11th. Hicks fell on beam, floor exercise (2 1/2) and had three large breaks on uneven bars, including a fall on a Tkatchev.

Seneca's Vanessa Meloche made a statement for herself by hitting her intricate bar routine (toe-on Shaposhnikova to Pak salto, piked Jaeger immediate overshoot to dead handstand, Khorkina, double front dismount) twice. Meloche, recently recovered from her third ankle surgery, will compete bars twice again tomorrow in an attempt to be named to the team as a bars specialist.

Competition resumes tomorrow at 2 PM, with the top two athletes guaranteed spots on both teams. The other team spots will be announced on Monday.

Canadian World/Pan Am Trials for Women
Toronto, July 12

Day 1 Results:
1. Heather Purnell 36.575
2. Kylie Stone 36.400
3. Amelie Plante 36.125
4. Melanie Banville 36.025
5. Lydia Williams 35.950
6. Gael Mackie 35.800
7. Richelle Simpson 35.400
8. Laura-Ann Chong 34.05
9. Traci Rai 33.600
10. Natasha Gowda 33.275
11. Danielle Hicks 32.450
12. Amanda Gering 31.600
13. Jennifer Simbhudas 24.525 (three events only)
14. Vanessa Meloche 18.525 (two bar routines only)

IG Online Related Items
Canadian World Trials Preview (July 12, 2003)
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Purnell Present, Observing at Canadian Championships (May 22, 2003)

IG Magazine Related Items
Simpson center poster, NCAA Championships report (June/July 2003)
Plante profile (June/July 2003)
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"Canada Can" - team profile (January 2001)

To subscribe to IG magazine or order back issues, click here.

Canadian World Trials Preview // July 12, 2003
The 2003 Canadian Pan American and World Team Trials will take place this weekend at Seneca College in Toronto, Ontario. The top two athletes following the two days of competition are guaranteed berths on both teams, with the remainder of the athletes selected by a committee.

The final day of training was held last night, with the unstructured format allowing the fourteen athletes to spend as little are as much time as they needed on each event.

2003 National Champion Gael Mackie, 14, was the last athlete to finish training after spending extra time on her beam dismount (flip-flop, flip-flop, double tuck) and Yurchenko 1 1/2 vault. Yesterday, Mackie struggled a bit on vault, sitting down every attempt at her new vault, though she says she's been hitting them in her home gym.

"We'll see how it goes in warm-up tomorrow," she said. "[I'll compete] whichever vault goes better."

After training well on beam and floor (strong piked full-in), Melanie Banville (Ottawa) had a scare on bars when she released late and hit her head and neck on the bar on a double tuck dismount. Thirty minutes later, Williams repeated the dismount (both tucked and laid out) without any problems. She left the venue with two ice packs and no serious injury.

While most gymnasts added elements to their routines for this weekend's competition, Lydia Williams (Seneca) has removed a few of hers. She said she has forgone originality for consistency on uneven bars, at least for now. Williams removed her Zuchold (on the high bar, jam dislocate through to handstand on low) transition and Comaneci release, though the routine still includes a Jaeger and Tkatchev.

"[They were removed] so I could hit," Williams said of the strategy. "But I might add them back in after this weekend."

Williams performed aggressively, receiving cheers after every skill in her beam routine from her younger Seneca teammates in the audience.

"I want to show the country that our team looks good," said Williams, who named Mackie as the gymnast to beat. "I want to prove to myself that I'm one of the top."

Another gymnast that could be near the top is Richelle Simpson (Univ. of Nebraska), who showed strong, clean gymnastics. She has made several changes to increase her start values on floor (new jump combinations) and beam, where she trained consecutive layouts, a punch front into one-armed backhandspring, and a double tuck dismount. Simpson, who skipped the 2000 Olympic trials, insists that she's not thinking about the past or the future. Though excited about the possibility of representing Canada, though she said the upcoming NCAA season remains her top priority.

"If I make it and things go well, that's great," Simpson said of her expectations for the Trials. "but if I don't, that's fine too."

Other top contenders include bars specialist Vanessa Meloche (Seneca), Amelie Plante (Gymnix), Heather Purnell (Ottawa) and Kylie Stone (Stampede).

Competition begins at 2pm both today and Sunday, with the official announcement of the teams on Monday. Look for complete coverage here on IG following today's competition.

IG Online Related Items
NCAA Champion On Track for Worlds (July 2, 2003)
Mackie, Ikeda Win Canadian Championships (May 22, 2003)

IG Magazine Related Items
Simpson center poster, NCAA Championships report (June/July 2003)
Plante profile (June/July 2003)
"Staying Power" - Purnell profile (May 2003)
"Canadian Standout" - Mackie profile (January 2003)
"Canada Can" - team profile (January 2001)

To subscribe to IG magazine or order back issues, click here.

Bisbikou Aims High For Worlds // July 9, 2003
Greek junior champion Stefani Bisbikou told IG she and her team have high hopes for the World Championships in Anaheim next month.

"My goal is to help the team qualify for the Olympics, and at the same time to manage to participate in as many finals as possible!" said Bisbikou, the reigning Greek junior champion in the all-around as well as on balance beam and floor exercise.

Bisbikou, who placed sixth all-around at the 2002 European Junior Championships in Patras, said the Greek team would like to score 145.00 points at Worlds, which will take place August 16-24.

The top 12 teams in Anaheim will qualify for the 2004 Olympic Games that will take place in Athens. Greece did not qualify a full team for the 2000 Sydney Olympics, having placed 17th at the 1999 Worlds in Tianjin. The Greek women last qualified a full team for the Olympics in 1996, by placing 11th at the 1995 Worlds in Sabae. They also placed 11th at the Atlanta Games.

Bisbikou, who said she will "probably" compete on all four events if she makes the Greek team for Anaheim, said team selection will take place following a final trials at the end of the month. She is currently training in Thessaloniki, where the final trials will take place. After the team is selected, Bisbikou will return to her hometown of Athens, from which the Greek team will depart for Anaheim on August 8.

Bisbikou said her program has not changed drastically from 2002. "I'm performing some new skills on the beam and floor," she said. "My Start Values are 10.00 on beam and bars, 9.9 on floor and 9.7 on vault."

Bisbikou, who said she has grown about 2.5 inches in the past year, said Russian national team coach Leonid Arkayev is still involved as a consultant for the Greek program. Bisbikou said she and her teammates from Athens missed a trip to Russia in March due to a serious case of the flu, and she stayed home from the Russian Cup in June (where some Greeks competed as guests) "in order to rest a bit."

IG Online Related Items
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To subscribe to IG magazine or order back issues, click here.

Zimmermann Vaults Into 12th Worlds // July 9, 2003
As he prepares for his 12th world championships, Austria's Thomas Zimmermann says he is proud of his own innovative 10.00 vault, which has recently been attempted by another gymnast.

Last month, Russia's Anton Golotsutskov performed the "Zimmermann" (handspring barani-in, back out) at the Russian Cup in Moscow. (To view Golotsutskov's vault, go to IG Online's Video Gallery of the 2003 Russian Cup by clicking here.)

"I'm very proud that I was the first gymnast in the world who did this vault," said Zimmermann, who performed the vault at the 2001 Worlds in Ghent and at other meets that year. "It is a feeling which not many people in the world can have. This vault has my name, and now there is one other gymnast who does this vault, and my name is used in the gym business. This makes me prouder on the one hand, but also, now I'm not the only one that can do it anymore."

Zimmerman, who will turn 31 this fall, made his world championship debut in 1989. Since then, he has competed in every world championships except the 1994 world team championships in Dortmund, Germany. He is hoping to qualify for his first Olympic Games at next month's world championships in Anaheim, Calif.

"I'm in good shape," Zimmermann told IG. "I am preparing for the all-around competition in Anaheim, because I would like to qualify for the Olympics next year."

At the 2002 European Championships, Zimmermann injured his leg warming up his vault and withdrew from the competition. Though the injury has contributed to his decision to performing a different vault in Anaheim, he said he is optimistic that his all-around prospects have improved, however.

"After my big injury last year in Patras, I worked very hard on floor, rings, parallel bars and high bar," Zimmermann told IG. "So I decided not to work so much on the vault. In Anaheim I will perform just a double front (Roche) vault. This is a very stable vault for me, so I have more time [to work on] the other events."

Read "Powers of Invention," a profile on Zimmermann, in the March 2002 issue of International Gymnast Magazine.

IG Online Related Items
IG Online Video Gallery: 2003 Russian Cup (includes Golotsutskov's vault)
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To subscribe to IG magazine or order back issues, click here.

Romanian National Championships // July 8, 2003
Newcomer Andreea Munteanu won the all-around at the Romanian National Championships for women, held this past weekend in Bacau.

Munteanu scored 9.300 on both vault and uneven bars, 9.513 on balance beam, and 9.525 on floor exercise. She topped 2002 Junior European team member Alexandra Eremia, 37.638-37.400. All-around bronze medalist Dana Sofronie earned her high score on bars with 9.675.

Florica Leonida, the reigning Junior European balance beam champion, scored only 9.025 on that event in Bacau to place fourth. Finishing fifth was Silvia Stroescu, the only member of the 2001 world champion Romanian team still competing.

2002 World beam silver medalist Oana Ban finished sixth with mistakes on bars (8.925) and floor (8.900), but scored 9.650 on beam. 2002 World bars silver medalist Oana Petrovschi did not compete because of injury.

This weekend's competition was one of five official tests before the world championships, said a Romanian Gymnastics Federation spokesperson. A squad will compete July 19 in a dual meet against Italy in Aosta.

The 2003 World Championships will take place August 16-24 in Anaheim, Calif. The Romanian women's team is the five-time defending champion.

2003 Romanian National Championships
Bacau, July 4-6

All-Around
1. Andreea Munteanu 37.638
2. Alexandra Eremia 37.400
3. Dana Sofronie 37.200
4. Florica Leonida 37.025
5. Silvia Stroescu 36.900
6. Oana Ban 36.625
7. Lorena Stancu 36.175
8. Madalina Rapeanu 35.650
9. Eleonora Dragnea 35.575
10. Catalina Ponor 35.550
11. Corina Bucurean 35.150

Vault
1. Monica Rosu 9.481
2. Dana Sofronie 9.331
3. Silvia Stroescu 9.281

Uneven Bars
1. Dana Sofronie 9.650
2. Florica Leonida 9.525
3. Monica Rosu 9.500

Balance Beam
1. Oana Ban 9.687
2. Alexandra Eremia 9.600
3. Catalina Ponor 9.512

Floor Exercise
1. Andreea Munteanu 9.587
2. Lorena Stancu 9.575
3. Alexandra Eremia 9.475
3. Madalina Rapeanu 9.475

IG Online Related Items
Spotlight Gymnast: Oana Ban
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To subscribe to IG magazine or order back issues, click here.

Tweddle Wins Third Title // July 6, 2003
Beth Tweddle earned her third consecutive senior all-around title at the British Championships, held this weekend in Guildford.

Tweddle, the 2002 European championships uneven bars bronze medalist, scored 35.500. Last month Tweddle placed first on uneven bars at a dual meet between Russia and Great Britain

Second was Rebecca Mason (34.650), who placed fourth in 2002. Vanessa Hobbs, who last year tied for fourth place in the junior division, won the bronze medal (34.250).

Last year's silver medalist, Nicola Willis, finished fourth with 34.025.

Imogen Cairns won the junior all-around title (34.275) over last year's junior bronze medalist, Samantha Bayley (33.675). Third was Melanie Roberts (33.525).

The British women are now preparing for next month's World Championships in Anaheim, where they will try to earn one of 12 full team berths to the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. They placed 11th at the 1999 Worlds in Tianjin and 10th at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney.

At the 2002 Worlds (for individual events only) in Debrecen, Tweddle placed fourth on uneven bars. At the 2001 Worlds in Ghent, Tweddle placed 24th all-around and the British team placed ninth.

2003 British Women's Championships
July 5-6, Guildford

Senior All-Around
1. Beth Tweddle 35.500
2. Rebecca Mason 34.650
3. Vanessa Hobbs 34.250
4. Nicola Willis 34.025
5. Lizzie Line 33.400
6. Cherrelle Fennell 33.375
7. Helen Galashan 32.650
8. Renay Jones 32.325
9. Sarah Swift 32.300
10. Lyndsey Bailey 32.200
11. Amy Dodsley 32.050
12. Jenna Toms 31.600

IG Online Related Items
Spotlight Gymnast: Beth Tweddle
Tweddle First On Uneven Bars Against Russia (June 29, 2003)
Tweddle Tops Again - 2002 British Championships report (July 9, 2002)
British Women Regrouping - 2001 British Championships report (July 11, 2001)
Event Coverage: 2002 World Championships
Event Coverage: 2001 World Championships

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"Ready For Anything" - Tweddle profile (April 2002)
2002 British Championships - short report (October 2002)
2001 British Championships - short report (October 2001)
2000 British Championships - short report (October 2000)
1999 British Championships - short report (August/September 1999)
1998 British Championships - short report (January 1999)

To subscribe to IG magazine or order back issues, click here.

U.S. Team for Worlds Announced // July 5, 2003
The U.S. team for the 2003 World Championships were announced this evening by USA Gymnastics. National champion Courtney Kupets and runners-up Tasha Schwikert and Hollie Vise will be joined by Annia Portuondo Hatch, Ashley Postell, and Carly Patterson. Alternates for the team are Terin Humphrey and Samantha Sheehan.

Based on their results at last month's national championships in Milwaukee, Kupets, Vise, and Schwikert earned automatic berths to the team. The rest of the team was selected following a training camp and competition, which took place this past week at the Karolyi ranch in Texas.

Patterson was absent from the U.S. championships while recovering from an elbow injury. Sheehan was also absent from the national championships because of a broken toe, and did not compete balance beam at the competition in Texas.

Schwikert was a member of the U.S. team that won the bronze medal at the 2001 World Championships in Ghent, Belgium. At last year's individual world championships in Hungary, Kupets won uneven bars and Postell won balance beam.

At the 1996 World Championships in Puerto Rico, Portuondo Hatch won the bronze medal on vault for her native Cuba. The 25-year-old became a U.S. citizen in 2001 and first represented the United States internationally at the 2003 Visa American Cup.

The team for the Pan American Games will be Nastia Liukin, Allyse Ishino, Chellsie Memmel, Marcia Newby, Courtney McCool, and Tia Orlando. Tabitha Yim, Liz Tricase, and Nicole Harris are alternates for the quadrennial event, which will take place August 1-17 in the Dominican Republic.

Look for a 2003 World Championships Preview, plus coverage of the 2003 U.S. National Championships, in the August/September issue of International Gymnast Magazine.

IG Online Related Items
U.S. Names Men's Worlds Squad (June 22, 2003)
Patterson Optimistic About Return (June 19, 2003)
Portuondo in Battle with Cuban Federation (June 10, 2002)
Event Coverage: 2003 U.S. National Championships
Event Coverage: 2002 World Championships
Event Coverage: 2001 World Championships

IG Magazine Related Items
Liukin on cover (June/July 2003)
Patterson on cover (April 2003)
Memmel on cover, Kupets interview (May 2003)
Humphrey/Barutyan profile (February 2003)
Kupets on cover, 2002 Worlds coverage (January 2003)
Hatch cover story (December 2002)
Patterson on cover (March 2002)
Memmel, Liukin profiles (November 2002)
Kupets on cover (April 2002)
2002 U.S. Nationals coverage (October 2002)
2001 Worlds coverage (January 2002)
Schwikert, Vise profile (October 2001)
1996 World Championships coverage (June/July 1996)

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NCAA Champion On Track for Worlds // July 2, 2003
Former Canadian national team member—and current NCAA champion—Richelle Simpson is in good position to help the Canadian team in Anaheim, coach Adrian Burde told IG Wednesday.

"I just talked to Canada's head coach Andrei [Rodionenko]," said Burde, the assistant coach at Nebraska. "He called me today and asked me how she was doing, and said he thinks the team will need her for sure on floor and vault. I'm sure she's going to have her spot on beam, too, because she has a 9.9 Start Value there."

In Canada, Simpson trained at the Winstonettes under coaches Leonid Grakovsky and Debbie Vidmar. Fifth all-around at the 1999 Canadian national championships, she finished sixth all-around the next year, but elected not to compete at the Olympic trials. She competed for Penn State as a freshman in 2001 before transferring to Nebraska. Her progress in the past two years has been remarkable, said Burde, a native of Romania.

"When she came to us from Penn State, she was a good gymnast," he recalled, "and then she just started doing new stuff like double layout on floor, Tsuk layout-full on vault... It was just amazing. She told me she never thought she could learn more new things than she was doing before. I told her 'I'm sure you will be great for Canada, so let's try.' That was last year, when we started thinking about [trying for Worlds]. Then she got much better this year and she won the NCAA all-around. She has a lot more confidence now."

In April, 20-year-old Simpson won the the all-around and floor exercise titles at the NCAA national championships. She was invited to compete "out-of-competition" at the Canadian National Championships, held in Saskatoon in May. The competition was won by Gael Mackie.

"Richelle did OK at the Canadian nationals," said Burde. "She had a very good floor, with the second highest score on floor. She had some breaks on bars..she couldn't change so many things around in just three weeks after NCAA nationals. She was used to competing a Yurchenko layout-full, but that has only a 9.5 Start Value, so she learned a 1 1/2 in like three weeks. She took a big step to the side but she's doing much better."

Though her results did not factor into the final placings, her scores in Saskatoon were equivalent to fourth all-around, second on vault, and second on floor exercise. Based on her performance, Simpson was selected to compete in the Canadian World Championships trials. The trials will take place July 12-13 in Simpson's hometown of Toronto. The World Championships will be held August 16-24 in Anaheim, Calif.

"She's doing great," said Burde of Simpson's progress. "We have had more time to get ready for the trials, so I think she is going to do pretty well. I think she is going to do three events. I don't think she will do all-around because she's weak on bars, where she has only 9.5 Start Value. On floor she has a 9.9 Start Value. She's tumbling a double layout, layout front double-full—we're working on adding punch layout front—and two whips to double pike. She's very solid."

Burde was named NCAA Assistant Coach of the Year for the 2003 season. From 1997-1999, he assisted coach Eliza Stoica at the Steaua Bucharest club, working with current Romanian national team members Floarea Leonida and Alexandra Eremia. Though Leonida and Eremia will be in medal contention if they make the Romanian team for Anaheim, Burde said he is delighted to be Simpson's personal coach.

"It's great for me working with her," said Burde, 29. "She's my best gymnast ever. In Romania I worked with gymnasts like Floarea and Alexandra when they were juniors, only like 11 and 12 years old. But Richelle is the first gymnast I coached directly. I'm sure Floarea and Alexandra will be better all-around, but I coach her directly, so she is really special for me."

Burde also coached in France from 1992-1994, and in Oklahoma in 1999 and 2000. He marveled at the set of circumstances that have led to the possibility of coaching at the World Championships. "It's so funny because I'm a Romanian, living in the United States, and now coaching for Canada!" he laughed. "At Worlds, people will see me and ask me, 'Adrian, when did you move to Canada?'"

Simpson, who will be a senior this fall, is a double major in international studies and French. Her resolve in making the switch to international competition has been impressive, said Burde.

"I thought it was going to be harder," he said. "She is the only one in the gym now working out; everyone else is at the pool, on vacation, and she's in the gym doing full routines. But she's awesome. She's has everything you need from a gymnast. You can't find a gymnast like that in every gym."

IG Online Related Items
Leonida Leads Romania to Tri-Meet Win (June 29, 2003)
Mackie, Ikeda Win Canadian Championships (May 22, 2003)
Nebraska Leads The Way, Simpson Wins All-Around (April 25, 2003)
Romania: Ten in Contention (June 12, 2003)

IG Magazine Related Items
Simpson center poster, NCAA Championships report (June/July 2003)
"Canadian Standout" - Mackie profile (January 2003)
Leonida cover story (February 1999)

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