Posts Tagged ‘He Kexin’

Beth Tweddle news

January 9, 2009
Britains Beth Tweddle on her signature event.

Britain's Beth Tweddle on her signature event.

Britain’s best ever isn’t hanging up her grips yet. From the Chester Chronicle:

Beth Tweddle hoping for another world title in 2009

Beth Tweddle is preparing for what could be one of the most challenging years of her career.

Currently recovering from a shoulder operation, the gymnast from Bunbury will spend 2009 building towards a shot at glory at the World Championships in London in October.

Tweddle remains the only British gymnast to win a world title – on the uneven bars in 2006 – and despite the fact she will reach the grand old age of 24 in April, she is hoping to win a second.

The former Chester Queen’s School pupil is also eager to prove she has what it takes to go on and compete in the 2012 London Olympics.

“That is still in my mind,” said Tweddle, who had originally earmarked this year’s World Championships as the time to end her glittering career. “I have nothing set in stone, but I would like to compete at the London Games.

“Home crowds are the best and I don’t get to compete in major international competitions on home soil very often, so I am really looking forward to the worlds and possibly the Olympics.”

Tweddle, who finished an agonising fourth on the uneven bars at last summer’s Beijing Olympics, was due to have a medical assessment yesterday after undergoing shoulder surgery in November.

“It was unexpected but completely necessary,” she said. “It is a bit sore but that is mainly because I haven’t used it for 10 weeks. I am hoping I get the all-clear to begin training again so I can make sure I am fit for the Euros in April, the Grand Prix in Glasgow and the other events I need to get up to standard.”

When Tweddle resumes training she will have some work to do. Her uneven bars routine, the most difficult in the world, needs to be altered after rule changes which have reduced the time gymnasts can spend on the bars.

“It should actually help me,” said Tweddle, a member of Liverpool Gymnastics Club. “A shorter routine, but with the same difficult moves in, will be a benefit to me and hopefully help me continue my success.”

Still studying in Liverpool to become a physiotherapist, Tweddle says she is taking the autumn of her gymnastic career one step at a time.

“I just have to see what happens,” she said. “I am continuing to study and plan for the future and for what I will do when I leave gymnastics. But as for when I take all that up, I am not sure yet.”

Is it possible? Maybe, but she has to get through the Chinese (and maybe Nastia Liukin) first. If He Kexin and Yang Yilin look as good in 2009 as they did in 2008, it will be difficult for Tweddle to break through. Still, it’s always easier to be the hunter. Home court advantage in London could be a big help, too.

The weeks in review

November 25, 2008

There should be a blog that keeps tabs on all the gymnastics blogs.

Tidbits of the week: Triple Full reports that 2006 World Champion Vanessa Ferrari is having a sort of identity crisis. Ongoing injuries have hindered her training, and she’s gained some weight. Nothing precipitates an identity crisis in gymnastics like the expansion of a couple inches of waistline. It seems doubtful that the feisty 2006 World Champion will be able to make a tremendously successful return to elite international competition.

Rick at Gymnastics Coaching reports that Georgia is once again on top of the yearly NCAA coaches poll, followed by perennial runner-up Utah. And that Bela Karolyi called accusers Trudi Kollar and fellow defector Geza Pozar “trash” for their accusations of Bela and Martha Karolyi’s abuse. Tactful. Very tactful.

Before becoming U.S. Team Coordinator, Martha Karolyi was the shadow behind Bela, who obviously prefers the spotlight. Rick calls for her to address the abuse allegations, as well. I kind of doubt she will. Or that USA Gymnastics will make her.

A flurry of competitions, including the Milan Grand Prix, Toyota Cup, Massila Cup, Asian Championships and DBT Cup have taken place in recent days. The rule of thumb has generally been that if you dominated during the Olympics, you dominated these competitions too. Stars include Cheng Fei, Jiang Yuyuan, He Kexin, Sandra Izbasa, Koko Tsurumi, Lauren Mitchell, Fabian Hambuchen, Maxim Deviatovskiy.

“Competing” against a weak field, U.S. gymnasts Samantha Shapiro, Corrie Lothrop and Olivia Courtney steamrolled everyone else at the Pan American Union Championships. Lothrop won vault, Shapiro bars and beam, and Courtney floor.

Mad about Mitja

November 24, 2008

So light in his elements. Such amazing form and grace. Confidence and star power. Slovenian Mitja Petkovsek has it all (even a sense of humor!) on parallel bars. Watch and be enthralled.

Mitja Petkovsek, 2008 Cottbus Cup Finals, Parallel Bars:

Petkovsec recently achieved the feat of being the first gymnast to accumulate more than 1,000 points in the World Gym Rankings.

Don’t normally pay attention to World Gym Rankings? Me either. The system’s kind of funny —  seems to have more to do with how many meets you’re in than anything else. For example, 2004 Romanian vault champion Monica Rosu is still in the top 20 as of November 19, and 2008 Olympic bars champion He Kexin is only ranked sixth on uneven bars. 

(via IG)

Well, that’s it

October 1, 2008

The FIG announced Wednesday that it had concluded its inquiry into the age of Chinese gymnasts at the 2008 Olympic Games, finding no evidence of age falsification.

The federation said it confirmed the gymnasts were of legal competition age in Beijing. At the FIG’s request, the Chinese Gymnastics Association provided official documents including passports, identity cards and household registers that supported their age.

…”Asians have different figures than people from the West, so that’s what caused their suspicion,” said Huang Yubin, head coach of the men’s team, when asked about the controversy. “They shouldn’t be suspicious.”

The federation said it is still looking into the ages of 2000 Olympians Yang Yun and Dong Fangxiao. China won the bronze medal at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, which concluded eight years ago Tuesday.

Yang said in an interview that she was 14 in Sydney, but explained later it was a slip of the tongue.

I guess we’ll never really know.

Other gymnasts known to have competed with false documents, according to IG: Romanians Gina Gogean, Daniela Silivas, Alexandra Marinescu and Lavinia Agache as well as Soviets Olga Mostepanova and Olga Bicherova.

A youthful, Moceanu-like Lavinia Agache on beam at the 1981 American Cup:

(via International Gymnast Online)

Yang Yun to be investigated?

August 11, 2008

International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) President Bruno Grandi told USA Today that he may initiate an investigation into whether Yang Yun was really 14 at the Sydney Olympics.

Yang won the bronze medal on uneven bars after a brilliant routine in event finals and was a contender for the all-around title as well before falling on balance beam in Sydney. Her pretty layout Cuervo vault, one of the best ever done, clinched China’s team bronze medal in 2000.

Yang Yun, 2000 Olympic Games Team Finals, Vault:

Yang gave an interview on Chinese television saying she was only 14 in Sydney, The New York Times reported in late July.

Grandi apparently doesn’t watch Chinese TV.

Nevertheless, after the news conference, Grandi said he wants to look into the dispute over Yang’s age. “I want to evaluate,” he said. “I want to speak with my executive committee.”

Oh yeah: Grandi suggests solving the age of athletes snafu (brought about by documents available on the internet indicating that He Kexin, Yang Yilin and Jiang Yuyuan may be younger than the 16 the government says they are) by issuing licenses to gymnasts earlier in their careers.

Which may not be a bad idea. But what’s to prevent a country from fudging its athletes’ ages beginning at age 10 or so instead of age 15?

Come to think of it…

August 4, 2008

Chinas Yang Yilin is the latest to be suspected of being underage.

China's Yang Yilin is the latest to be suspected of being underage.

This doesn’t really seem like the face of a 16-year-old, either.

Despite the International Olympic Committee’s decision not to pursue whether half of the Chinese women’s team is underage, the news media seems reluctant to let it go. And hey, Yang Yilin does have a very, very youthful face.

Whether Yang really is 16, or 15, or 14, or whatever, she hangs with the best in the world. She should compete. So should He Kexin. So should Samantha Shapiro and Charlotte Mackie and Aliya Mustafina. Shame on China for breaking the rule — if they are — and shame on the FIG for making a rule that is so easy to break.

Was Yang Yun 14 in Sydney?

July 27, 2008

From The New York Times article that makes waves about the ages of Chinese gymnasts slated to compete in Beijing.

Yang Yun of China won individual and team bronze medals at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and later said in an interview on state-run television that she had been 14 at the time of those Games. A Hunan Province sports administration report also said later that she had been 14 when she competed in Sydney.

If she really was 14 in Sydney, the charismatic Yang, reportedly the girlfriend/fiance of Olympic favorite Yang Wei, fooled a lot of people. He Kexin doesn’t look her reported age, but Yang did.

Yang Yun, 2000 Olympic Games Event Finals, Uneven Bars:

If Yang wasn’t old enough to compete in Sydney, who else wasn’t either?

More on possible Chinese age falsification

July 27, 2008

From no less than The New York Times. This article questions not only uneven bars favorite He Kexin, but also 2007 World team member Jiang Yuyuan, a candidate for an all-around medal.

Jiang Yuyuan won the Good Luck Beijing International Invitational.

The Times found two online records of official registration lists of Chinese gymnasts that list He’s birthday as Jan. 1, 1994, which would make her 14. A 2007 national registry of Chinese gymnasts — now blocked in China but viewable through Google cache — shows He’s age as “1994.1.1.”

Another registration list that is unblocked, dated Jan. 27, 2006, and regarding an “intercity” competition in Chengdu, China, also lists He’s birthday as Jan. 1, 1994. That date differs by two years from the birth date of Jan. 1, 1992, listed on He’s passport, which was issued Feb. 14, 2008.

…The other gymnast, Jiang, is listed on her passport — issued March 2, 2006 — as having been born on Nov. 1, 1991, which would make her 16 and thus eligible to compete at the Beijing Games.

A different birth date, indicating Jiang is not yet 15, appears on a list of junior competitors from the Zhejiang Province sports administration. The list of athletes includes national identification card numbers into which birth dates are embedded. Jiang’s national card number as it appears on this list shows her birth date as Oct. 1, 1993, which indicates that she will turn 15 in the fall, and would thus be ineligible to compete in the Beijing Games.


Chinese women’s team is…

July 25, 2008

The rumors were true. International Gymnast Magazine has confirmed that Cheng Fei, Jiang Yuyuan, Li Shanshan, Yang Yilin, He Kexin and Deng Linlin will represent team China in Beijing.

Team captain Cheng is the only returning 2004 Olympian but also the lone member of the 2006 World Championship-winning squad.

In China, gymnasts seem to flame out faster than they do elsewhere — perhaps it’s the emergence of stunning new talent like He and Deng that makes it that much harder to stay at the top.

Yang Yilin, 2008 Tianjin World Cup Event Finals, Uneven Bars:

Like the Chinese men’s squad named earlier, this is a dream team — if they can all hit in team finals. China’s reputation there is sketchy. If they hit in event finals, the Chinese could sweep the gold medals.

Whether they win team gold or not, China has certainly locked up the depth prize this quad. Talk about a country whose B team could challenge for a medal –not making the final Olympic cut was Olympic veteran Zhang Nan, artistic Sui Lu, snazzy Pang Panpan, powerful Xiao Sha, and 2006 World team members Zhou Zhuoru, He Ning .

He Kexin is ’14,’ according to the People’s Daily Online

May 23, 2008

Today’s People’s Daily Online contains an article on rising uneven bars superstar He Kexin, who currently holds the record high score on the event.

No surprise. He is regarded as the best in the world on bars right now — maybe one of the best ever. Here’s the kicker:

The 14-year-old newcomer to the national team, who was recruited last year, has raised a lot of eyebrows recently after she broke two world records on the uneven bars in as many months. She will be just one more weapon on an already star-studded Chinese Olympic squad.

Newspapers make mistakes. A lot. But this error is particularly troubling given speculation that youthful-looking He is too young to be age-eligible for Beijing. The reporter who wrote this had to have gotten He’s age somewhere. She’s been reported as 16 elsewhere. Gymnasts must have turned 16 by the end of the calendar year 2008 to be able to compete in this summer’s Olympic Games.

He Kexin, 2008 Doha World Cup Finals, Uneven Bars:

This article, which may have been written by someone whose second language is English, contains some raw truths many journalists who write about gymnastics tend to shy away from — for example, it calls the Chinese women’s seventh-place team finish in Athens “humiliating” and refers to 1984 Olympic bars gold medalist Ma Yanhong as a “princess” on the event.