Posts Tagged ‘Aisha Gerber’

Meet the Bruins (version 2009)

December 14, 2008

Looking very beach-ready in blue tank tops and black shorts, the 2009 UCLA gymnastics team gave an exhibition of sorts a couple weeks ago in Los Angeles.

Included are the floor routines of Ariana Berlin, Brittani McCullough (who didn’t tumble, likely still recovering from her ruptured Achilles last season), Allison Taylor, Talia Kushynski and Canadian freshmen Aisha Gerber and Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs. Enjoy!

Aisha Gerber to become a Bruin

May 23, 2008

Aisha GerberAisha Gerber, the expressive Canadian who was third at the 2006 American Cup has signed a letter of intent to compete for UCLA next winter, NCAA.com reports.

In a statement, UCLA coach Valorie Kondos-Field compared Gerber to former Bruin Yvonne Tousek, one of the most expressive and unique gymnasts of her generation.

“Aisha embodies all that we pride ourselves on at UCLA. She is a brilliant and serious student of academics as well as of gymnastics. She also exudes confidence, poise and elegance, much like her fellow Canadian and past Bruin Yvonne Tousek.”

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Tanella, Gerber give a clinic in expressive floor routines

February 5, 2008

Yes, Virginia, you can do an expressive floor routine with a code of points that forces many to do double fulls as side passes.

Cases in point: The dramatic Christa Tanella of World Olympic Gymnastics Academy in Plano, Texas, and Aisha Gerber, formerly of Cambridge Kips and Elvira Saadi in Ontario, now with Canadian great Kyle Shewfelt’s coach, Kelly Manjak, at Oakville Gymnastics.

Christa Tanella, 2007 U.S. Championships Prelims, Floor Exercise:

Aisha Gerber, 2007 Elite Canada Event Finals, Floor Exercise:

Gerber told International Gymnast Magazine in December that she would be trying for one of the two spots on Canada’s Olympic team, likely as a vault and floor specialist. She’s one of the few Canadians to ever throw a double-twisting Yurchenko in competition, and that expressive floor routine is likely to win fans over to her cause.

As far as the Olympics go, Gerber’s got strong competition from reigning Canadian champion Kristina Vaculik and 2006 World bronze medalist Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs. In her bid to make the Canadian team, Gerber is planning to upgrade to a double layout (or maybe double Arabian) on floor.

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

January 3, 2008

Shawn JohnsonFor so long, the Gymnasts to Watch have come from four countries of the world: The United States, China, Russia and Romania. As we move into 2008, it is quickly becoming apparent that the best gymnasts are not exclusively from these four nations.

With the help of coaches who have migrated from South America to New Zealand, Korea, Germany, France, Italy, Australia, Great Britain, etc., international gymnastics is flourishing in ways it never has before.

Some of those who will be contenders for numerous Olympic medals aren’t mentioned on the following list. We know who they are. But sometimes the stories of the underdogs are equally compelling. Oksana Chusovitina’s fifth Olympics? Come on. That’s an achievement even those who snap up most of the gold in Beijing will never accomplish.

Shawn Johnson, USA: The 2007 World Champion will have all eyes on her this season, but she’ll be dealing with maintaining her position at the top of the podium instead of simply claiming it, as she did in every contest she entered last year. Many fans may watch Johnson with apprehension. After all, Johnson’s idol Kim Zmeskal, whose gymnastics greatly resembled Johnson’s own, looked darn unbeatable too going into 1992.

Shawn Johnson, 2007 World Championships All-Around, Floor Exercise:

Beth TweddleBeth Tweddle, Great Britain: The most decorated gymnast in British history (a term I never thought I’d hear again after Shannon Miller retired) Tweddle is going into 2008 with what seems like all of England marching behind. Freak injuries in podium trainings and the like have robbed Tweddle the opportunity to compete her best at so many competitions.

Beth Tweddle, 2006 World Championships Event Finals, Uneven Bars:

Jiang Yuyuan, China: She’s China’s rising star and a potential late-blooming all-around threat. With the Olympics being held in Beijing, it’s hard to imagine that Jiang won’t do well.

Jiang Yuyuan, 2007 World Championships Event Finals, Floor Exercise:

Aisha Gerber, Canada: She looked like the next Yvonne Tousek at the 2006 American Cup. After a tumultous 2007, with new coaches Kelly and Sue Manjak cheering her on, a revitalized Gerber wants to compete for Canada in Beijing. In order to do so however, she’ll have to prove she’s more worthy than Kristina Vaculik and Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs.

Aisha Gerber, 2006 American Cup, Floor Exercise:

Vanessa Ferrari, Italy: The competitive spirit obviously rages inside this one. The question will be if she can hit all of her events — in the same day.

Vanessa Ferrari, 2006 World Championships All Around, Floor Exercise:

Daria Joura, Australia: She’s been a spunky and well-choreographed presence on the international scene since 2006. If she does everything she’s capable of in Beijing, she could be in the top five on several events.

Daria Joura, 2007 American Cup, Floor Exercise:

Hong Su Jong, Korea: Despite their particular prowess on vault and uneven bars, the Koreans have gone relatively unnoticed internationally. But at the 2007 World Championships, Hong showed the same vaults as Cheng Fei — an Amanar and Cheng’s own signature vault, which some argued Hong did better in Stuttgart. With Brazilian Jade Barbosa also performing the Cheng, it will be a battle to determine who’s going to do what in 2008.

Hong Su Jong, 2007 World Championships Event Finals, Vault:

Anna PavlovaAnna Pavlova, Russia: The gymnast once deemed Svetlana Khorkina’s successor on the Russian team has limped along since Athens, which was the last competition she really looked alive at. The rudderless Russian team has looked thrown for a loop most of the quad as well, despite immense depth and talent from upcoming juniors. The thing is, Pavlova nearly pulled off the upset of the quad in 2004 (many argue she should have had bronze), and there’s a feeling she does have more to give. If she puts the extra effort into her performance in Beijing as she did in Athens, we could see more from her and the Russians this year.

Anna Pavlova, 2004 Olympic Games All Around, Floor Exercise:

Bridget Sloan, USA: One of the USA’s “Bubble Girls,” the 2007 World Championships alternate is getting attention for her clean gymnastics, personality, consistency and self-choreographed floor routine.

Bridget Sloan, 2007 Beijing Test Event All Around, Floor Exercise:

Cerasela Patrascu, Romania: With veteran Catalina Ponor gone for good, this girl could be the top Romanian in Beijing. Her form is good, her skills are difficult and her presentation has a wonderful quality to it. Expect her — and not teammate Steliana Nistor, deserving as she is — to be the one to watch this year.

Cerasela Patrascu, 2007 World Championships Team Prelims, Uneven Bars:

Yulia Lozhechko, Russia: She’s got the long bodyline — if not the sass — of Khorkina, and her quality and steadiness on balance beam is thoroughly impressive. After being unceremoniously thrown off the Russian national team for disobeying her coaches in Stuttgart, one can only hope Lozhechko put her head down and kept training.

Yulia Lozhechko, 2007 European Championships Event Finals, Balance Beam:

Oksana Chusovitina, Germany: It’s taken four Olympiads, three countries and one child for Chusovitina to get to this point. Regardless of how she performs, whether or not she qualifies for vault finals, how could anyone not cheer for this woman?

Oksana Chusovitina, 2006 World Championships Event Finals, Vault:

Vaculik, Hopfner-Hibbs, Lee win Elite Canada event finals

December 17, 2007

Canada's Elyse Hopfner-HibbsFrom International Gymnast Magazine:

Canadian world team members Kristina Vaculik and
Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs each won one event and tied for another as Elite Canada concluded Sunday in Abbotsford, B.C.

Vaculik, winner of Friday’s all-around competition, vaulted a clean Yurchenko full (13.7) and an Omelianchik (13.4) to place first, ahead of Missassauga’s Alyssa Brown and Gymnix Montreal’s Nansy Damianova.

Vaculik continued her success on bars (clear hip full to Tkatchev, full pirouette to Gienger, double front dismount), tying Sport Seneca’s Hopfner-Hibbs (Markelov, Jaeger, toe-on piked Tkatchev, double layout) with a 15.1. Ontario’s Peng-Peng Lee, second in the all-around, was third with a 14.2.

On balance beam, Hopfner-Hibbs turned in a solid routine that included a McCool (front handspring) mount to immediate back tuck and a side aerial to two layout stepouts to edge Vaculik, 15.300 to 14.95. Vaculik also performed a McCool mount but wobbled on her switch leap, back tuck combination.

Hopfner-Hibbs, who won the bronze on beam at the 2006 World Championships, said she is focusing on uneven bars and balance beam leading up to the Olympic Games.

“I’m trying to use all the competitions I get to go to as preparations for Beijing,” she said. “For me it’s just practice.”

Lee, who debuted a back handspring, tucked full combination Friday night, missed it Sunday but managed to place third with a 14.35, despite also falling on a tucked barani. Lee’s 7.0 A score was the highest of any in the competition.

Canada's Peng-Peng Lee

Undeterred, Lee turned in a clean, jazzy floor routine (full in, Arabian double front, 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 twist, double pike) to take top honors ahead of Damianova and Oakville’s Aisha Gerber.

Gerber, who formerly trained with Elvira Saadi at Cambridge Kips, took off five months between October 2006 and March 2007. She is now training with Kelly and Sue Manjak at Oakville Gymnastics in Ontario and said she is attempting to make the Olympic team.

“We are thinking Olympic Games,” Gerber said. “That is my goal and we are building step by step toward that goal.”

In the junior division, all-around runner up Ti Liu of Gymnix was the day’s big winner, placing first on uneven bars (13.85) and balance beam (14.4). Kristen Klarenbach of Ortona Gymnastics in Alberta won vault (13.325), while Laurel Clouston of Salta Gymnastics in Alberta was the top competitor on floor (13.85).

Canada’s Cambridge Kips is ‘Sports Organization of the Year’

November 6, 2007

Cambridge Kips, the gym that sprung Canadians Yvonne Tousek, Crystal Gilmore and Aisha Gerber onto the international gymnastics scene, has been named Sports Organization of the Year, according to the Cambridge, Ontario Times.

Currently, more than 1,400 female and male athletes are registered in the various recreational and competitive programs, with many participating in classes several times a week. While working to reinvent the club – with new programs and equipment upgrades – numbers continue to climb, making it one of the fastest growing clubs in the country.

Hopefully the Canadian women’s failure to qualify a full team to the Olympics doesn’t dampen its citizens’ enthusiasm for the sport.

Kips’ success is likely largely due to head coach Elvira Saadi, she of the highly original and expressive floor choreography that has graced the routines of several Canadian notables of the past 15 years.

Gerber, the latest Canadian star to train with the Kips, left to train with Sue and Kelly Manjak at the Oakville Gymnastics Club. In 2006, when still training with Saadi, she was extremely impressive at the American Cup, finishing third behind Nastia Liukin and Shayla Worley. She continued her success by performing at the 2006 Pacific Alliance Championships even though she had been quite ill and unable to take penicillin, and later competed at the Ghent World Cup.

Unfortunately, she appeared to have regressed some by this year’s Canadian Championships and was not on the World team.

Aisha Gerber, 2006 American Cup, Floor Exercise:

Aisha Gerber, 2007 Canadian Championships, Partial Floor Exercise: