Posts Tagged ‘Carly Patterson’

Trani interviews Kupets

November 25, 2008

Everyone wants a Courtney Kupets update. Here it is, courtesy of Georgia freshman Amber Trani, who calls Kupets her “big sister” on the team.

How is your Achilles doing?
CK– It’s doing very well. I’m still doing a bit of rehab and am just now progressing onto hard surfaces. But slowly so I don’t go too hard and it swells up.

What are your thoughts on the upcoming season?
CK– I’m very excited for it. There’s still a lot of work to be done. But I’m excited for the new team and to build the new chemistry because until season starts you don’t really know how it’s going to be.

How have practices been going for you as well as the rest of the team?
CK– Practices for me still are either on or off. I guess it’s because of coming back from an injury. I need to be more consistent. Beam has been solid and I’m confident on that. And the team, we’ve started inner-squads. The first ones were pretty much what I expected but now it is picking up and getting to be what we want.

What do you think will be the toughest challenge?
CK– Well already [Courtney] McCool being out has been difficult. But we really need to not get ahead of ourselves. There’s going to be hard times and easy times and fun times. We can’t get over anxious about anything that occurs. That’ll be our toughest challenge.

Other interesting tidbits: Kupets says she couldn’t live without her coffee maker. I’m still amazed that gymnasts drink coffee. On Ellen, Carly Patterson once said she’d been drinking coffee from a pretty young age, and Nastia Liukin and Shawn Johnson were spotted this summer getting their Starbucks fix. Trani aspires to be a sports reporter. In five years, she hopes to be working for Sports Illustrated or ESPN.

Kupets’s new floor routine (and many others from Georgia) are available on Gymnastike.

Where was Carly?

August 23, 2008
Reigning Olympic champ Carly Patterson wasnt in Beijing this summer.

Reigning Olympic champ Carly Patterson wasn't in Beijing this summer.

It was one of the many thoughts flitting through this blogger’s brain in the aftermath of Nastia Liukin’s golden all-around performance.

The Dallas Morning News apparently had the same question.

Someone obvious was missing Friday morning in Beijing as North Texan Nastia Liukin won the women’s gymnastics all-around Olympic gold medal: Carly Patterson.

Television cameras cut to Houston’s Mary Lou Retton, who in 1984 became the first American woman to win the all-around gold. There were shots of coaches, the ever-present Bela and Martha Karolyi, and several other Olympic luminaries.

But what about Patterson, the darling of the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, whose megawatt smile and pepper-pot style captured American imaginations when she won America’s second all-around gold?

She watched the games from Louisiana, with family.

“I wanted to be there, for sure,” said Patterson, 20, who lives in Allen and is pursuing a singing career. “I don’t really know what happened. I wasn’t invited.”

Hmmm. On one hand, someone — USA Gymnastics or WOGA or even NBC or the FIG — could have seen to it that the reigning Olympic champion was invited to the big party in Beijing.

Then again, Patterson has expressed little desire to remain involved with the sport, at one point redoing her website and inviting readers to click a link to “read about her former gymnastics career.” (It has since been redone and gymnastics is a little more prominent.)

USA Gymnastics President Steve Penny’s comments indicate there may be some hurt feelings on both sides between the 2004 Champ and the U.S. governing body of the sport that made her famous.

Was it fair of Patterson to pout in print? Perhaps. Perhaps not. Regardless of how she seems to have moved on with her life (applaudable) she was the Olympic champion. What do you think?

Gymnasts turned singers: Patterson vs. Cojocar

July 13, 2008

If you’re 13, this might be for you:

If you’re not, you may prefer former Romanian up-and-comer Sabina Cojocar’s (slightly) more sophisticated style. (She sings in English.)


(via Gymnastics Coaching, Difficulty plus Execution)

Twenty years later…

June 23, 2008

…and Olympic gymnastics is still a matter of power vs. elegance.

Remember this?

Daniela Silivas, 1988 Olympic All-Around, Floor Exercise:

Elena Shushunova, 1988 Olympic All-Around, Floor Exercise:

Daniela SilivasIt is perhaps a trifle unfair to label Silivas, the first woman to throw a double-twisting double back on floor, as the just “the elegant one,” and Shushunova, who had a well-choreographed Olympic floor routine, as just “the powerful one.”

Still, it’s an easy category to slip most standout gymnasts into, because it’s one of the two things that makes said athlete stand out. 2008 is unique because it’s the first time since the Seoul Games that the disparity between the two all-around front-runners has been quite this pronounced. Still, Gutsu vs. Miller. Khorkina vs. Raducan. Patterson vs. Khorkina — in nearly every Olympiad since 1984, it’s been there.

In 1992, it was the trickster Tatiana Gutsu, perhaps the least elegant gymnast to come out of the old Soviet system, who won over fragile-looking American Shannon Miller.

Lilia Podkopayeva, the 1996 Olympic champion, possessed a rare combination of power and grace. There’s never been another quite as good on both fronts as she was, even though Svetlana Khorkina may have in places done more difficult gymnastics.

Andreea Raducan had a poorly choreographed beam routine but was one of the few to really dance on floor. Few would make the mistake of calling Carly Patterson’s choppy style balletic.

Return of the shaky balance beam routine

May 14, 2008

Balance beam is a shaky event.For many years, the balance beam has been seen as the hardest event in gymnastics. It’s nerve-wracking, those four inches, four feet off the ground. And gymnasts have to do so much these days.

One of the things that makes Olympic champions like Carly Patterson and Andreea Raducan great is the way they almost never seemed to falter on that most precarious of events.

Seems like these days more gymnasts have major problems on uneven bars. Great all-around prospects who had difficulties hitting bars in competition or getting a start value that didn’t deflate all-around possibilities? The ranks burst with them: Vanessa Atler, Alicia Sacramone, Cheng Fei, Anna Pavlova, Sandra Izbasa, Jana Bieger, Catalina Ponor, Gina Gogean, etc.

So it’s almost refreshing to see a gymnast whose worst event is the old classic balance beam, who makes you bite your nails and get so nervous during the routine that suspense movies hardly compare.


Darlene Hill: Olympic sleeper now?

April 2, 2008

No post on this blog has had as many comments as one written in October about 18-year-old Darlene Hill, who trains at the Will-Moor School of Gymnastics in Mt. Laurel, N.J.

Will-Moor, by the way, has produced some very respectable alumni, including Arizona State’s Beate Jones and Stanford’s Alex Pintchouk.

But back to Hill. In October, some said she has Olympic potential. Others didn’t think so. All that was before she won floor at the Pacific Rim Championships last weekend.

The Pacific Rim is an interesting meet because it’s about the last time any Olympic contenders emerge from the woodwork if they haven’t already done so. In 2004, it was Allyse Ishino’s coming out party – after all, she beat Carly Patterson there.

Is the same true for Darlene Hill?

Darlene Hill, 2008 Pacific Rim Championships Team Finals, Floor Exercise:

Darlene Hill, 2007 Glasgow Grand Prix Event Finals, Uneven Bars:

Terin Humphrey: The moments

March 19, 2008

Terin HumphreyCarly Patterson was the “it” girl, the one with the big chance to become the next Mary Lou Retton.

Courtney McCool was the upstart senior with the impeccable form who some thought could win it all for herself.

Courtney Kupets was an amazing comeback story — the girl who had weathered a potentially career-ending injury and come back better than she’d been before, all in less than a year.

Mohini Bhardwaj had defied all odds and made an Olympic team eight years after she was expected to be at her prime.

Annia Hatch was living the American dream.

And Terin Humphrey was the girl, who despite not being a particular Olympic favorite (some doubted she’d make the team, given that the USA had so much talent to choose from) wound up standing on a podium in Athens all by herself with a silver medal around her neck.


2008 USAG Hall of Fame Inductees

March 6, 2008

Carly Patterson helped the U.S. women win the team title at the 2003 World Championships.The golden 2003 U.S. women’s World Championship team headlines the 2008 inductees into the USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame.

Members of the 2003 World team were Carly Patterson, Hollie Vise, Courtney Kupets, Terin Humphrey, Chellsie Memmel, Annia Hatch, Ashley Postell and Tasha Schwikert.

The 2003 Worlds were the U.S. women’s greatest world championship triumph up to that point, but early on it looked like it might become a disaster. Humphrey and Memmel, the team’s alternates, and were substituted in when Postell became ill and Kupets tore her Achilles in training. Hatch tore her ACL the day before the competition but is still considered a member of the team.

Other Hall of Fame inductees this year include:

Olympians Jessica Davis of San Anselmo, Calif. (rhythmic), Marie Walther Bilski of Tempe, Ariz. (women’s), and Wayne Young of Pleasant Grove, Utah (men’s); synchronized trampoline and double mini-trampoline world champion Stuart Ransom of Southaven, Miss.; two-time NCAA champion Brent Simmons of Columbus, Ind. (men’s); women’s artistic gymnastics coach Mary Lee Tracy of West Chester, Ohio; and contributor Wendy Hilliard of New York City. Kenneth Allen of Oshkosh, Wis., is the 2008 Lifetime Achievement recipient in recognition of his contributions to gymnastics.

Their biographies are listed on the Hall of Fame’s website.


LSU, with a bullet

January 22, 2008

Georgia. Florida. Utah. Alabama. Stanford. UCLA.

Louisiana State?

LSU junior Ashleigh Clare-Kearney.The LSU Tigers have been making a strong statement so far this season that they belong in the Super Six. First it was at the highest opening meet score in school history, a 195.725 over Denver, Minnesota and Texas Woman’s at the Cancun Classic Jan. 4.

Then it swept Iowa at home and posted a 195.9 against Arkansas, moving in three weeks from being ranked no. 10 to no. 5.

Now, as it looks forward to Saturday’s meet at Georgia, LSU looks stronger than ever. Does that mean it actually has a chance at beating the SEC powerhouse Gym Dogs? Probably not. But with a good score, the surprise team of the season so far could surprise a bit more. 

The lynchpin of LSU’s pre-2007 success was LSU star April Burkholder, who delivered energetic performances and much of the team’s choreography. LSU has did not seem to have a performer who was been able to replace her last year, although Ashleigh Clare-Kearney nad Susan Jackson, a former training partner of Carly Patterson and Hollie Vise at WOGA, are both fairly strong.

As it happens, Clare-Kearney is this week’s SEC Gymnast of the Week.

Ashleigh Clare-Kearney, 2007 SEC Championships, Uneven Bars:

In addition, junior Clare-Kearney is currently ranked no. 1 in the nation in the all-around, tied with Florida’s Melanie Sinclair.

Can they keep it up? Could LSU, ranked 10th in preseason polls, break into the Super Six? Nothing is certain. Even Georgia has hardly exceeded expectations so far this season.

Also: New blog The Olympic Effect takes a closer look at Florida’s successes and shortcomings, suggesting the former is due to successful politicking by coach Rhonda Faehn. Faehn, of course, learned it during her elite days with Bela Karolyi, who is undoubtedly the greatest politicker in gymnastics history.

The Top 10:
1 Florida 196.975
2 Georgia 196.642
t3 Alabama 196.362
t3 Utah 196.362
5 LSU 195.725
6 Michigan 195.675
7 Oklahoma 195.583
8 UCLA 195.550
9 Stanford 195.375
10 Arkansas 195.275

Shawn Johnson Day

October 12, 2007

Mary Lou Retton got a Wheaties box.

Carly Patterson got a Wheaties box, the talk show circuit and a fledgling singing career.

Shawn Johnson doesn’t have the Wheaties box yet, but she’s doing the talk show circuit and she’s already got something neither Olympic champions Retton nor Patterson did: A day.

Iowa governor Chet Culver will personally welcome the newly crowned world all-around champ to the Iowa State Historical Building Oct. 17 for what the Des Moines Register calls “Shawn Johnson Day.”

Forget day. 2007 has clearly been Shawn Johnson year. She’s been American Cup Champion, American Classic Champion, Pan American Games Champion, U.S. National Champion, World All-Around Champion, World Floor Champion, all within the span of about seven months. 

It’s worth noting that Johsnon only lost one meet as a junior in 2006 as well.

2007 World All-Around Champion Shawn Johnson performing the floor routine the solidified her title.

With all the positive energy swirling around her, one has to wonder what’s in store for the 15-year-old dynamo in 2008. When Kim Zmeskal became the first American woman to win a world all-around title in 1991, there were few media appearances and those focused on what the Olympic year would bring.

To paraphrase a Sports Illustrated article written four years later, after the 1991 Worlds in Indianapolis, the doors of Karolyi’s gym were open and herds of reporters were asking, “How many golds will you get in Barcelona?”

How things have changed in a decade and a half. Everyone’s so stoked about Johnson’s win in Stuttgart that Beijing still seems very far off. Johnson’s also been featured on ABC News as Person of the Week, and she just did a spot on Ellen Degeneres’ daytime show. Nobody’s really talking about Beijing, and when they do, it’s about whether or not she’ll make the team, not how many medals she’s worth.

That’s as it should be. Charmed as her life may seem, Johnson’s going to be under pressure like she’s never known next summer. She should get the opportunity to savor her latest triumph without having to focus on the unknown future.

Johnson on Ellen:

And as ABC News’s Person of the Week: