Posts Tagged ‘David Durante’

New NCAA roles for Durante, Dantzscher

October 23, 2008

David Durante will be an assistant coach at Stanford this season.

David Durante will be an assistant coach at Stanford this season.

With the Olympics over, it’s time to start thinking about the college season. 2008-09 will be filled with familiar faces, although in different roles than in the past.

Olympic alternate David Durante has accepted a position as one of Stanford’s assistant coaches. By the accounts of all who have met him, Durante is a hugely likable and personable fellow, and college coaching should suit him. He’s just one more talent in Stanford’s already stocked corner. The Cardinal may be out for revenge this year after last year’s home NCAA loss to Oklahoma.

2000 Olympian Jamie Dantzscher has signed on to be an assistant coach with Arizona State (Stanford head coach Kristen Smyth got her coaching start the same way.) Despite the talents of Tia Orlando, Nicole Harris (before she retired mid-season) and Tiana Jean, the Sun Devils languished at the bottom of the Pac-10. Seven of the Sun Devils’ 17 gymnasts this year are freshmen.

Dantzscher was something of a showstopper in the NCAA. Check out this floor routine from the 2003 NCAA Championships:

Rick at Gymnastics Coaching reports that Shayla Worley visited Georgia but hasn’t made a final decision about her NCAA future. Many people think because she’s from Florida she’d go with the Gators. With Worley on their team, they might finally get that elusive NCAA title they’ve been so close to for the past three years.

Vote for where you think Shayla will go at Difficulty Plus Execution.

WOGA’s Christa Tanella, however, has already made her choice.

Three gymnasts – Christa Tanella, Kati Breazeal and Noel Couch – said they have told Georgia associate head coach Jay Clark that on signing day, Nov. 12, they will sign letters of intent to attend Georgia.

Another strong class for the Gym Dogs. Suzanne Yoculan or not, they’re sure to stay strong.

Artemev’s Olympic dream comes true

August 7, 2008

Morgan Hamm on pommel horse at the 2007 U.S. Championships.

Morgan Hamm on pommel horse at the 2007 U.S. Championships.

New U.S. Men’s team: Bhavsar, Tan, Spring, Horton, Hagerty…and Artemev.

From International Gymnast Magazine:

Two-time Olympian Morgan Hamm withdrew from the Olympics in Beijing on Thursday because of an ankle injury, and has been replaced by alternate Sasha Artemev.

“I have been dealing with this for the last year and it has gotten worse here in Beijing,” Hamm said in a statement Thursday. “Right now I am unable to perform my tumbling skills at the level that I need to. This has an impact on my ability to contribute to the team’s goals and I believe by continuing I would be putting myself at further risk.”

During podium training on Wednesday in Beijing, Hamm’s ankle was clearly bothering him. He tumbled only one pass on floor exercise, a 2 1/2 twist, and fell on it. He watered down on vault as well, performing a double-twisting Tsukahara instead of his usual 2 1/2.

U.S. men’s head coach Kevin Mazeika said he needed to be able to see a full floor routine from Hamm during Thursday’s practice.

It’s a very sad ending to what began as a hugely promising comeback for the twins who literally did half the work in the 2004 Olympic team finals. Paul and Morgan’s comeback was supposed to herald the return of U.S. men’s gymnastics as a true international contender — at least for these Games.

It’s hard to know what to expect from the two they’ve been replaced by, except form errors (and thus lower B scores) from Bhavsar and inconsistency from Artemev — the most notable things about each one’s gymnastics, respectively.

This seems a slightly more advanced prototype of the team that finished a respectable fourth at the 2007 World Championships. It’s strength on rings is excellent thanks to Bhavsar and Tan, and Artemev, provided he hits his pommel horse routine in team prelims, has a good shot at moving to finals on that event.

Artemev, who once said in an interview that Paul Hamm’s return took the pressure off of people like him to be as “perfect”, is a brilliant gymast on nearly every event. His lines, form and artistry are truly Olympic-caliber. Even with a fall, he’ll carry in a better score on pommels than literally everyone else on this team.

Two withdrawals before anyone even salutes a judge in competition is a lot, and even with alternate David Durante still waiting in the wings, one wonders if it wouldn’t behoove the U.S. to fly another person out to Asia to train — just in case. David Sender, anyone?

U.S. men’s team is…

June 22, 2008

Jonathan HortonFrom NBCOlympics.com:

1. Paul Hamm

2. Jonathan Horton

3. Kevin Tan

4. Justin Spring

5. Morgan Hamm

6. Joseph Hagerty

Alternates: Raj Bhavsar, Sasha Artemev, David Durante

For a U.S. men’s program, this is probably the best of all possible combinations. Hagerty and Hamm will make excellent lead-off men on almost any event, Paul Hamm can be put anywhere, Tan can contribute on pommel horse and of course rings, and Spring and Horton provide flair and extreme difficulty on nearly all their events.

As for the alternates, it’s where Durante, “the ultimate filler” probably belongs. Too bad his flair and elegance won’t see Olympic competition, but hopefully even from the alternate’s seat his leadership will be given a role.

2008 U.S. men’s team prediction

June 22, 2008

The final four members of the team will be announced Sunday. Gymblog’s prediction:

Justin Spring2008 U.S. Men’s Olympic Team:

1. Paul Hamm
2. Jonathan Horton
3. Kevin Tan
4. Justin Spring
5. Morgan Hamm
6. Sean Golden

Alt. 1: Raj Bhavsar
Alt. 2: David Durante

This is not going to be fair. One way or another, someone deserving is going to get burned.

U.S. men’s Olympic trials, night one

June 20, 2008

Results from International Gymnast Magazine (this is the combined scoring, taking day one and day two of the U.S. Championships into account):

1. Jonathan Horton 63.255
2. Joseph Hagerty 63.165
3. Sasha Artemev 62.825
4. Raj Bhavsar 62.800
5. David Durante 62.430
6. Guillermo Alvarez 57.910
7. Tim McNeill 57.230
8. Justin Spring 47.335
9. Morgan Hamm 42.645
10. Kevin Tan 42.225
11. Yewki Tomita 33.870
12. Sean Golden 32.675
13. Sean Townsend 26.415

But on this night, Artemev and Horton were the real 1-2, Associated Press reports:

Paul Hamm isn’t the only American gymnast with skills. With the reigning Olympic champion recovering from a broken hand, Sasha Artemev and Jonathan Horton made their cases for trips to the Beijing Games on Thursday night. Artemev and Horton finished 1-2 Thursday night, the first of two competitions at the Olympic trials, and Horton has the lead when scores — including those from last month’s national championships — are weighted and combined.

Justin Spring overcame immense back pain (since when was he having back pain?) to put up a very impressive showing on five events. But the depth — or is it the specialization? — of the U.S. men’s team showed in the event placings: Sean Golden won vault, Artemev was the best on pommels, Kevin Tan placed first on rings,

Three of the top five, plus two of the specialists, will likely make the Olympic team (that Paul Hamm will be on the team seems to go without question.) Question is, which three, and which two?

Seems that Morgan Hamm and Jonathan Horton, by virtue of past performances and difficulty, will also make the team. Joseph Hagerty is a darkhorse who has little international experience but seems to be peaking when it counts.

David Durante at the U.S. Championships

May 22, 2008

David Durante doesn’t talk like a guy who won a U.S. Championship a year ago.

David DuranteIn an interview with Inside Gymnastics Magazine, the 2007 U.S. Champion, who admits that he thought he would retire five years ago, also mea culpas to not being his best at the 2007 World Championships and, frankly, to not being the U.S.’s biggest talent.

I have to say that I’m definitely not the most talented guy. These guys are unreal. But there are a lot of factors that play into being a great gymnast and it’s not just talent. I feel like I bring other things to a team, and leadership is one of those things.

Durante has a history of leading, but not always delivering, under pressure. Is leadership a valuable enough reason to put him on the Olympic team? Then again, the U.S. men’s program has a history of being sentimental when it comes to picking their Olympians — it might be argued that’s why John Roethlisberger made the team in 2000 and Blaine Wilson did in 2004.

The good: David Durante, 2007 U.S. Championships Finals, Floor Exercise:

The bad: David Durante, 2007 World Championships Team Finals, High Bar:

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.

Mazeika to coach Olympic team

February 10, 2008

USA Gymnastics has tapped 2004 Olympic team coach Kevin Mazeika to lead the men’s team in Beijing, the federation announced after a meeting this weekend in Las Vegas, where the 2008 Winter Cup is underway.

Mazeika, who coaches 2007 World Team member Sean Golden, 2001 World parallel bars champ Sean Townsend and 2004 Olympic alternate Raj Bhavsar at Houston Gymnastics Academy, led the U.S. men in 2004, when they sapped a 20-year dry spell by grabbing silver in the team competition.

But he’s come under fire from some in the gymnastics community, who claim he’s encouraged athletes to forgo accepting college scholarships.

Veteran Paul Hamm leads the standings at the Winter Cup with a healthy 92.8 after the first day of competition. Bhavsar, who many feel was jilted four years ago, is second with 89.0, one tenth ahead of 2006 U.S. Champion Sasha Artemev. 2007 U.S. champ David Durante and Stanford standout David Sender round out the top five.

Blaine Wilson, who is trying to make his fourth Olympic team, is currently eighth.

Is Wilson a factor for 2008?

January 17, 2008

Five-time U.S. Champion Blaine Wilson

Blaine Wilson was never the type to be all talk. Nevertheless, the fact that he’s made the announcement that he’s training for Beijing and nobody’s seen any skills seems a little suspect.

Even in Shannon Miller’s excellent recent interview on her show Gymnastics 360, there’s no in-the-gym footage, the way there is of Shawn Johnson and Paul Hamm.

Then again, not everyone is as nice about updating the public on their training progress as the Hamm twins are.

But now it appears that Blaine is ready to take his comeback public. He’s on the start list for the 2008 Winter Cup, vaulting in the same lineup as Paul Hamm.

So is almost everybody else who’s somewhat healthy (*cough*Justin Spring*cough*) and trying to make the Olympic team. That includes Jonathan Horton, Guillermo Alvarez, Alexy Bilozertchev, David Sender, David Durante and Sasha Artemev. Sean Golden is the only member of the 2007 World team not represented.

Longtime U.S. champion John RoethlisbergerWilson did a toned-down, almost soulful (as soulful as Blaine Wilson gets, anyway) interview with Miller, invoking U.S. great John Roethlisberger and the Rocky-like heart he put into every competition. Seems like life as a single father and struggles with drinking has mellowed him. A lot.

I like to win and the passion to be on the floor and look around and say, ‘Hey guys, take this all in because you may never be here again…I miss gymnastics, and I think it was a little premature as far as retiring and stuff. So I’m giving it another shot.

Blaine Wilson, interviewed by Shannon Miller:

China’s B team impressive, but U.S. men disappointing in Beijing

November 30, 2007

Beijing Test Event: Great meet for Jiang Yuyuan. Not so for the U.S. men’s team.

The Americans sent three inexperienced and three somewhat experienced newcomers to Beijing for what International Gymnast Magazine termed a “dry run.”

It was dry all right.

The U.S. men wound up eighth out of the eight teams that competed. China, whose B team could probably win an Olympic medal, held off the challenge from the Japanese, the South Koreans and the Germans by performing solidly in front of the home crowd, some of whom were decked out in the same shades of red and yellow that the Chinese wear at many international meets.

China’s Lu Bin, now 28, topped the standings with a 16.525 on vault and delivered a solid 15.95 on still rings. Teammate Yan Mingyong posted the best score on rings with a 16.275. Feng Zhe was the only competitor to break 16 on parallel bars, scoring a 16.175.

Yan Mingyong, 2007 Shanghai World Cup Finals, Still Rings:

Feng Zhe, 2007 Glasgow Grand Prix Finals, Parallel Bars:

The Koreans did well on floor, where the high (15.725) came from Kim Soomyun. The Romanians shone on pommel horse; Daniel Popescu was the high scorer there with a 15.375, while Germany’s Fabian Hambuchen dominated the high bar standings with a 15.95, seven tenths higher than his nearest competitor.

Daniel Popescu, 2007 Moscow Stars, Pommel Horse:

World all-around silver medalist Hambuchen, who posted the highest all-around score in the preliminaries, competed everything but pommel horse and scored no lower than 14.875. Reigning U.S. Champion David Durante had one of the worser meets of his career, managing only 11.775 on pommel horse and 12.825 on parallel bars.