Archive for the ‘2008 American Cup’ Category

Pressure’s on, Shawn

March 10, 2008

Shawn Johnson appears to be back on track.

After her first senior international defeat at last weekend’s American Cup, the Des Moines, Iowa native bounced back by winning her first all-around title of 2008 as the U.S. defeated Italy, Spain and Poland in a “fun” meet this weekend in Jesolo, Italy, about 20 miles northeast of Venice.

Johnson reportedly did not throw her Amanar vault, which she fell on at the Cup.

Not that she needed to. Her closest competition, 2006 World Champion Vanessa Ferrari, performed only a full-twisting Yurchenko and finished more than one and a half points behind Johnson, who apparently had some kind of stumble on floor exercise (15.0). Up-and-coming American Samantha Peszek, third at the American Cup, was third at this meet as well. Complete results are on International Gymnast Magazine’s website

More thoughts on Johnson’s performance at the American Cup, previously unposted:

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Eight 2008 American Cup observations

March 4, 2008

Shawn Johnson1. Shawn Johnson looked far more nervous at this event than she did in any meet in 2007. Even before her fall on vault during the first rotation, the big smiles were gone, and she often looked strained saluting the judges. By all indications, the pressure seems to be getting to her a little. Nonetheless, better to fall on an Amanar at the American Cup than in Beijing.

2. The judges seem to be finally loosening up on giving high execution scores. Still, a 9.525 B-score for a 1.5-twisting Yurchenko with a step to the side from Nastia Liukin? Her form, which is impeccable about everywhere else, did not likely deserve a 9.525. And above a 15 for that vault? Has that happened yet this quad? Maybe they were rewarding her for just standing it up.
 
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Some relatively unseen American Cup videos

March 4, 2008

Want to see Samantha Peszek’s uneven bars? Or Shayla Worley’s vault? Here are the results of half an hour of Youtube searching. Many thanks to Youtube user GymDishVideos for providing such excellent videos of training and competition!

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American Cup results…

March 1, 2008

…can be found on International Gymnast Magazine’s website. IG Publisher Paul Ziert blogged live from Madison Square Garden, and his take is interesting, to say the least.

What an interesting meet!

Hamm wins Winter Cup

February 11, 2008

Paul Hamm won the Winter Cup this weekend in Las Vegas.It was hard to say how well Paul Hamm would do returning to competition. He certainly appeared to be getting better and better, based on the training videos posted on his and brother Morgan’s Making the Olympics website.

But how well would he stack up against many of the nation’s best in a real live all-around fight?

Hamm’s performance at the Winter Cup this weekend is likely to put all nay-sayers to rest. Despite falling on his Kasamatsu one and a half vault — the same vault he fell on in the Olympic all-around — Hamm was so dominant, so perfect everywhere else that in the space of 12 routines he went from being a likely contender to the likely contender not only to make the U.S. Olympic team, but to challenge his old nemesis Yang Wei for an all-around gold. Again.

AP sportswriter Eddie Pells released this glowing article about the 2004 Olympic champ Saturday:

Yes, it’s still very early, but the giddiness is palpable among the Americans, who now officially have Hamm as part of their 14-man team, which will be culled to six for the Olympics.

After watching him perform in preliminaries Thursday, 2006 national champion Sasha Artemev called Hamm the man to beat at the Olympics and said his presence pushes the U.S. team into gold-medal contention.

Granted, no gymnast ever comes to Winter Cup at the top of his game. But that includes Hamm, who is coming back after a 2 1/2-year break, and the fact that he’s this good at this point can only be viewed as a positive sign.

Raj Bhavsar at the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials.Raj Bhavsar made a strong statement for his inclusion on the U.S. team in Beijing as well, finishing second all-around with a 178.6. Perhaps most redeeming for Bhavsar is the fact that he finished ahead of Artemev, who is as brilliant as he is inconsistent. Reigning U.S. champion David Durante was fourth, followed by Joey Hagerty and David Sender.

Inside Gymnastics Magazine reported along with its coverage of the meet that Bhavsar will join Hamm and 2007 American Cup champion Jonathan Horton as part of the U.S. contingent at the 2008 American Cup March 1 in New York City.

A Canadian, a Czech and an American sign with Stanford

November 29, 2007

Canadian national team member Alyssa Brown, Czech national team member Nicole Pechanec and WOGA standout Catherine Nguyen have all signed letters of intent to compete for Stanford in during the 2008-09 season, Cardinal head coach Kristen Smyth announced last week.

Brown recently told International Gymnast Magazine she’s planning to go for one of the two spots on the Canadian Olympic team. According to Stanford’s press release, Brown has already secured an invitation to the 2008 American Cup.

Alyssa Brown, 2007 Canadian Championships, Uneven Bars:

Pechanec, who trains at the Parkettes in Pennsylvania under Bill and Donna Strauss and mom Yvette, brings a lot of international experience. Representing the Czech Republic, Pechanec won the balance beam title at the 2007 Ostrava World Cup and was a team member at the 2006 and 2007 World Championships.

Nicole Pechanec, 2006 World Championships, Uneven Bars (note the unusual third release move):

Nguyen trains at WOGA under Evgeny Marchenko and Natalya Boyarskaya. Her sister Christine is a sophomore competitor for the University of North Carolina.

Catherine Nguyen’s stylish floor exercise from day one of the 2007 U.S. Championships:

In other NCAA news, the University of Washington, looking to rebuild its once dominant position in the Pac-10, has signed four for 2009. Coach Joanne Bowers, a transplant from the University of Michigan, already has an impressive freshman class this year consisting of Karen Cain, Danielle Henderson, Samantha Walior, Haley Bogart and Kristen Linton.

The Huskies will be adding Lauren Eller, Hatsune “Hats” Akaogi, Amanda Cline and Ruby Engreitz to their lineup in 2009.