Archive for the ‘Gymnastics’ Category

Hypolito confirmed with Dengue, will keep training

April 7, 2008

Diego Hypolito.

From The International Herald Tribune:

SAO PAULO, Brazil: Gymnastics world champion Diego Hypolito was diagnosed with dengue fever on Monday, but doctors said the disease will not disrupt his Olympic training.

Test results released by Copa D’Or Hospital in Rio de Janeiro confirmed Hypolito has the mosquito-borne disease, which causes high fevers, severe headaches and joint pains.

The Brazilian athlete had been hospitalized since Thursday.


Men’s artistic gymnastics: 12 to watch in ’08

January 16, 2008

Brazil's Diego Hypolito

For men’s gymnastics, the 2008 Olympic Games seem to loom as a competition where old scores are literally to be settled. The judging scandals that plauged the men’s events in Athens in 2004 — in the all-around, on high bar, parallel bars and still rings — seem to have kept many athletes in the gym and training for redemption in Beijing. (more…)

Hambuchen named Germany’s Sportsman of the Year

December 26, 2007

Fabian Hambuchen was named Germany's Sportsman of the Year last week.2007 World high bar champion Fabian Hambuchen was named Sportsman of the Year in Germany this week, completing what for him has been a year of accomplishment.

Hambuchen won a medal of every color at the World Championships in Stuttgart in September, capping off his arrival as a contender for multiple medals in Beijing.

He took home a bronze medal with the rest of the German team, was second to Yang Wei in the all-around (an improvement from 2006, where he was third) and won the gold medal on high bar.

The 20-year-old Hambuchen, who has completed high school but plans to delay going to the university until after the Olympics, hinted earlier to The China Daily that he feels rings are his weak spot, but said he hopes to improve “everywhere” in 2008.

“My strongest point is that I’m not that nervous in the competitions and I’m mentally good,” he said. “My goal is just to do my best, to stay healthy, and it will be very good to catch a couple of finals.”

He has no plans to retire anytime soon.

“My dream is to get four Olympic Games, so that means I’ll try to go until 2016,” he said.

International Gymnast Magazine goes digital

December 8, 2007

The innovative folks over at International Gymnast Magazine will be providing full .pdf versions of the magazine online at no charge for the next several months, publisher Paul Ziert announced today via IG Online.

Our December issue is available right now. The October issue, which featured our acclaimed coverage of the World Championships in Stuttgart, also can be viewed as an archived issue. We will offer the January/February 2008 (one of our two annual double-month issues) online at no charge as well.

Readers can find the October and December issues at

In a word, awesome.

Cheng Fei best on beam in Beijing

December 4, 2007

Cheng Fei won the vault, balance beam and floor exercise titles at the Good Luck Beijing International Invitational.It wasn’t exactly a packed field, but China’s Cheng Fei captured one of her first major balance beam titles at the Good Luck Beijing International Invitational.

This just shows that if she hit beam in something like an Olympic all-around event, she could have a major impact on that competition, despite not being particularly world class on bars.

I’ve said before that I think Shawn Johnson has the all-around title sewn up if she throws the Amanar vault. Cheng is one of the few in the world who already seems to have more or less mastered this skill, while Johnson reportedly trains it but has never performed in competition.

Even if her bars aren’t the best, with the Amanar, Cheng — or someone like Alicia Sacramone, for instance — would become a major force in an all-around competition. Maybe Cheng should reconsider her decision not to do the all-around at the 2008 Olympic Games.

Hambuchen, China lead in Beijing

November 28, 2007

To the surprise of few, Germany’s Fabian Hambuchen is head and shoulders above the competition after the preliminary round of the Good Luck Beijing International Invitational.

German giant Fabian Hambuchen.

Hambuchen posted the highest all-around score in an all-around that isn’t being contested at the meet, and led event finals qualifications on floor exercise and high bar.

There are few of the sport’s top competitors there to challenge him. Japanese star Hiroyuki Tomita may still be recovering from exhaustion after the Stuttgart all-around, and Tomita’s teammate Hisashi Mizutori is absent as well. Also missing is the Chinese men’s A team, including two-time World champ Yang Wei.

The absence of China’s best male gymnasts didn’t stop the host country from dominating the first day of the team competition (363.625) over second place Japan (361.550) by more than two points. The Korean team (316.350) is right on their tails.

The U.S. men, competing with 2007 World team members David Durante, Sean Golden, and 2005 U.S. Champion Todd Thornton, along with Clay Strother, David Sender and Stanford standout Sho Nakamori, will likely want to better the 349.125 that left them in eighth after the first day.

(via International Gymnast Online)

Joura charges to lead at Good Luck Beijing Invitational

November 28, 2007

Australian Daria Joura is on a roll.

Australian Daria Joura is coming on strong as 2007 draws to a close.

Fresh off her floor exercise gold at last month’s DBT Cup, Joura is leading the field after the preliminary round of competition at the Good Luck Beijing International Invitational, otherwise known as the Beijing Test Event.

The Invitational is being treated like a mini-Olympics, which in some ways it is. All it really needs is more of the world’s top competitiors, but enough impact gymnasts are there to make it interesting.

Second behind Joura by a little less than half a point is American rookie Bridget Sloan, the designated alternate of the Super Seven Stuttgart group, while 2007 Worlds competitor Jiang Yuyuan is third.

The competition is also the comeback ground of 2005 World Champion Chellsie Memmel (fourth after preliminaries) and 2006 almost World Champion Pang Panpan (fifth, competing exhibition only.)

Chellsie Memmel

Both sat out the 2007 Worlds nursing injuries, but both could have a huge impact this summer — provided they make their respective Olympic teams.

The Romanian effort continues to be shockingly subpar. Top Romanian qualifier Andreea Grigoire is sitting in 16th place after scoring only a 54.975 over four events.

China’s Cheng Fei was the top qualifier on vault (15.15) and floor exercise (15.0), while 2007 European bars champion Daria Zgoba qualified first on that event (15.8). Memmel earned the highest score on balance beam (15.525).

China's Cheng Fei

(via International Gymnast Online)

Young Americans shine at 2007 Junior Pan American Games

November 27, 2007

Hard to believe Shawn Johnson and Samantha Peszek were competing at last fall’s junior Pan American Games.

Samantha Peszek, 2006 Junior Pan American Games, Floor Exercise:

It just goes to show what can happen in a year.

And it makes one wonder if one or more of the fantastic four the U.S. women sent to this year’s Pan American Games — Jordyn Wieber, Olivia Courtney, Mattie Larson and Chelsea Davis — could be in store for a similar fate.

The fact that they’re still competing as juniors about six months before the Olympic Trials (though Courtney, Davis and Larson are all age-eligible for Beijing) makes me think it would be nearly impossible for them to make enough of a first year splash on the senior circuit within the next six months to be chosen for the team.

Nonetheless, all are impressive, and are likely to be among the frontrunners in 2009. Particularly Wieber, who at age 12 is throwing almost all the difficulty of a Johnson.

Way to go Geralen!

November 23, 2007

OK, so she flubbed her opening leap series and she went overtime and she only scored a 15.075, but aside from all that, Geralen Stack-Eaton was downright impressive on balance beam at the Glasgow Grand Prix.

Olympic Games? Not a chance. Note that although she had the meet of her life and placed sixth at the 2007 U.S. Championships, the 18-year-olf was passed over in favor of Samantha Peszek when National Team Coordinator Martha Karolyi picked the World team training camp.  Probably because it was the meet of her life and she still ended up sixth.

Nevertheless, Geralen’s decent form and execution speaks well for her gym, the Parkettes of Allentown, Pennsylvania.

The Parkettes are almost as successful as they are constroversial — coach Donna Strauss receives a huge amount of flak for being dictorial and other criticize team members’ poor technique and numerous injuries.

CNN produced a rather unfavorable documentary about the gym in 2003, highlighting the challenges and sacrifices of Nicole Harris, Krista Jasper and Annie Fogarty.

Parkettes CNN Documentary, Part One:

They’ve also produced Olympians Kristen Maloney, Hope Spivey and Kim Kelly, and numerous Trials competitors.

Li, Johnson, Memmel on comeback trail

November 17, 2007

Chinese parallel bars virtuoso Li Xiaopeng is reportedly planning a comeback.

News bites:

The Des Moines Register confirmed this morning that 2007 World Champion Shawn Johnson is indeed healing from the stress reaction in her right shin and provided more details on her whirlwind existence since Stuttgart.

Johnson has resumed training at Chow’s Gymnastics and Dance Institute when she isn’t in demand elsewhere.

In the last two weeks, Johnson has traveled to Atlanta for a photo shoot for Coca-Cola; to Los Angeles for an NBC promotional shoot; and to Houston for a U.S. national team training camp.

She also posed for an ESPN the Magazine photo shoot.

And on Tuesday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution introduced by Rep. Leonard Boswell, D-Ia., congratulating Johnson on her world championship.

Next up: photo shoots for GK Elite Sportswear and Adidas. Johnson also will receive a necklace that Brodkey’s created especially for her.

How cool is all that?

The Xinhua News Agency reported that 2000 Olympic parallel bars champion Li Xiaopeng is also returning to competition. Li, who has been sidelined with various foot and ankle problems for the past two years, will compete at the Chinese national championships in April.

Hard to believe that Li made his debut as a 16-year-old at the 1997 World Championships, where he was second on parallel bars, fourth on the floor exercise and first with the dominating Chinese team.

Li Xiaopeng, 1997 World Championships Event Finals, Floor Exercise:

Apparently, like all the Chinese, Li is focusing on upping his difficulty for the Olympic year.

“Li Xiaopeng is setting about new action in his stronghold of parallel bars. If the action is locked, Li can upgrade his A score(difficulty) by 0.3 to 0.4 points directly,” said Chinese team leader Zhang Peiwen.

In Zhang’s point of view, the long absence from all sorts of competitions won’t hinder Li much. “Li is an experienced gymnast with a bunch of glory, so he can fine-tune to the real challenge soon. His training has never halted in spite of no show,” commented Zhang, adding Li is also a strong contender on vault and floor exercise as well as rings.

And 2005 World Champion Chellsie Memmel is also getting ready to make her comeback. Agence France Presse wrote this morning that Memmel will be competing in her first international competition — The Good Luck Beijing Invitational, which Americans call the Beijing Test Event — since suffering a shoulder injury at the 2006 Worlds.

Chellsie herself said it like two weeks ago on her WSCN blog.

I just got back from Texas for a National Team training camp. It was awesome to be able to train all four events again and to do some of the verifications for those events. My routines are really coming together now, and I hope I’ll be heading to China for the test event scheduled at the end of November. It would be a great all around competition and I can’t think of a better way to start my comeback!

Joining her there will be 2007 World team alternate Bridget Sloan and six yet-unnamed members of the U.S. men’s team.