Posts Tagged ‘Daria Bijak’

Other German Olympians

June 12, 2008

A little housekeeping: Germany named the rest of its men’s and women’s Olympic teams Tuesday. Joining Fabian Hambuchen, Marcel Nguyen, Philipp Boy and Eugen Spiridonov on the men’s team will be Robert Juckel and Thomas Andergassen.

On the women’s side, Jolene Mobius and Anja Brinker will join the University of Utah’s Daria Bijak, Oksana Chusovitina, Katja Abel and Marie-Sophie Hindermann. Kim Bui is the alternate.

Jolene Mobius, 2008 American Cup, Floor Exercise:

(via Gymnastics Coaching, Difficulty plus Execution)

Bijak to Beijing

June 11, 2008

Utah's Daria Bijak is headed to Beijing.The Desert News, one of two outlets that covers the University of Utah gymnastics team thoroughly, is reporting that Utah sophomore Daria Bijak has been named to the German Olympic team.

Long time coming. Bijak missed the 2000 Games with an injury, and Germany did not qualify a full team in 2004.

Germany named four men’s athletes: Fabian Hambuchen, Philipp Boy, Marcel Nguyen and Eugen Spiridonov — and three women: German champion Oksana Chusovitina, Katya Abel and Marie-Sophie Hindermann. The Deseret News article does not name who the other two female Germans named to the team were.

Bijak joins other Ute Olympic team members like Cheryl Weatherstone (Great Britain 1984), Missy Marlowe (USA 1988) and current teammate Gael Mackie (Canada 2004).

Bijak, 16th all-around at this year’s NCAA Championships, is one of the few (if not the only) NCAA vaulters to do a handspring laid-out front.

Daria Bijak, 2008 German Championships, Vault:

Daria Bijak, 2008 German Championships, Floor Exercise:

She keeps going, and going, and going, and…

June 10, 2008

Oksana ChusovitinaIt was a touching story of a mother’s love for her son and how she leveraged her sport to pay for treating his leukemia.

Then came the bang worthy of a surprise symphony:

“My goal is to keep going until London in 2012,” 32-year-old Oksana Chusovitina told Reuters in an interview last week.

Whoa. Chusovitina was tapped to lead the German women’s Olympic team, which will include Katya Abel and Marie-Sophie Hindermann, fourth on uneven bars at the 2007 World Championships. University of Utah sophomore and Olympic hopeful Daria Bijak kept herself in the running for a berth by finishing fourth at the recent German Nationals.

I suppose people were thinking Chusovitina might retire after Beijing. I’m beginning to assume she’ll be competing elite at 50.

German star Fabian Hambuchen will lead the men’s team, which will also consist of 2008 German Championships silver medalist Philipp Boy, Marcel Nguyen and Eugen Spiridonov.

The next Postell?

March 18, 2008

Utah freshman Kyndal Robarts.The excellent media coverage surrounding the University of Utah’s women’s gymnastics team is focusing on a new darling: after Ashley Postell completes her senior season this year, reporters and Utah coach Greg Marsden are predicting freshman Kyndal Robarts will take over.

Of Robarts, Marsden told the Desert Morning News, “She is our future.”

That’s not to say there aren’t a bevy of other supertalented gymnasts on Utah’s squad, including juniors Kristina Baskett and Nina Kim, and sophomores Annie DiLuzio and German Olympic hopeful Daria Bijak.

But Robarts, a San Marcos, Texas native, seems to fit into college gymnastics in the same way as many who weren’t that successful as elites, like UCLA’s Anna Li, Oklahoma’s Kiara Redmond-Sturms and LSU’s Ashleigh Clare-Kearney.

Robarts, Utah’s only freshman to have competed in the all-around this season, is pretty cool under pressure, too — her day against Minnesota contained a mishap on beam, and she makes a great and highly amusing cover-up.

A real crowd-pleasing moment, that, and perhaps one of the many still to come if she can stay healthy.

Anja Brinker: 2007 German Sportswoman of the Year

February 22, 2008

German giant Fabian Hambuchen deservedly got a lot of press when he became Germany’s Sportsman of the Year 2007 in December.

Much less fanfare has been made about rising German talent Anja Brinker, a 17-year-old from Herkenrath who was 10th all-around at the 2007 European Championships. Brinker’s specialty, like countrywoman Marie-Sophie Hindermann’s, is the uneven bars.

Anja Brinker, 2007 European Championships Event Finals, Uneven Bars:

Anja Brinker on balance beam.The German women’s team, which also includes Hindermann, former Soviet Oksana Chusovitina, Katja Abel and possibly Utah sophomore Daria Bijak, is formidable. Imagine if they had Jana Bieger as well!

It seems almost certain that the U.S. and China will be the top two women’s teams in Beijing this summer, but with those five, who knows? German gymnastics might even be in a position to upset a Romania or Russia for a bronze. Too bad Bieger resists trying to make the German team…


Bijak for Beijing?

November 8, 2007

Ashley Postell isn’t the only member of the Utah Utes with an eye on trying for Beijing. International Gymnast Magazine writer John Crumlish reported this week that Postell’s teammate Daria Bijak, a German native who’s now a sophomore at Utah, may also go for the 2008 Games.

“[2008] is still my goal and I am working towards it, but I think the most important thing for me is to stay healthy,” said Bijak, who will turn 22 on November 12. “I’ve had quite a few injuries in the past four years. So I guess only time will tell.”

Daria Bijak, 2007 NCAA Championships Team Prelims, Uneven Bars:

She’d make a nice addition to a German team whose fortunes have been rising, bolstered perhaps by having their country host the 2007 World Championships and their 10th place team finish there. The German men fared better. International Gymnast’s cover story this month is all about the charming and confident Fabian Hambuchen, who has matured into one of the best in the world.

Hambuchen, who just turned 20 and is enjoying his celebrity and standing among the best of the best, seems like he’s got a great future in the sport. In 2006, Hambuchen was named male Gymnast of the Year by the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame.

Uzbec transplant Oksana Chusovitina is admired for her longevity, but the German women don’t really have a star like Hambuchen. German women who appear to be a lock for Beijing barring injury are Chusovitina, who deserves a gold medal just for hanging out in the sport as long as she has, and Marie-Sophie Hindermann, who made a wonderful impression in Stuttgart with her clean, fluid bar routine.

Imagine if Jana Bieger, who holds dual citizenship, went to compete for Germany. She’d not only make the team — something that’s by no means certain as long as she’s representing the United States — she’d do wonders for its standing.

Bijak isn’t the only German with a Utah connection. Graduated senior Gritt Hofmann, then 25, enchanted the crowd during the 2006 NCAA Championships in Corvallis with a terrific Riverdance floor routine that anchored Utah’s second-place effort. Hofmann was on the German national team from 1994 to 2001. In addition, former Ute Angelika Schatton competed for Germany at the 1994 World Championships.