Posts Tagged ‘Jamie Dantzscher’

Little siblings — big potential

November 25, 2008

Family acts are fairly common in gymnastics. Parents tote all their kids, not just one, to the gym to wrench out energy at a young age, stuff like that.

Seems like good gymnastics runs in families too — one need only look to the Hamms (Betsy Hamm, Paul and Morgan’s older sister, was an NCAA Champion for the University of Florida during the late 90s) and the Roethlisbergers (John’s big sis Marie was a contender for the 1984 U.S. Olympic team) and a few others (the Khorkinas, Svetlana and Yulia, the Dantzchers, Jamie, Jalynne and Janelle, the Mackies, Gael and Charlotte, and on and on) for affirmation.

Here are a few new faces with “old” names poised to make a splash during the coming quad (although whether their splash will be as big as those their siblings have made is TBD).

Dasha’s sis Natalia Joura, International Level 10, Floor Exercise:

Chellsie’s sis Skyler Memmel, 2008 PKI Elite Qualifier, Balance Beam:

The incredible Nailia Mustafina, younger sister of up-and-coming Russian junior Aliya Mustafina, 2008 WOGA Classic, Balance Beam:

On the men’s side, there’s Glen Ishino, Allyse’s younger brother.

Glen Ishino practices parallel bars in the Cal Bears gym:

Missed anyone? Drop me a comment.

More dissatisfaction from former Olympians

November 25, 2008

Before Trudi Kollar gave spoke out about alleged abuse from Bela and Martha Karolyi last week, Elise Ray and Kristin Maloney went on the record as gymnasts not particularly enamoured with their Olympic experiences.

Neither Ray nor Maloney trained at the Karolyis, and neither allege abuse, although 2000 teammate Jamie Dantzscher once lashed out at Bela during a press conference after the team competition in Sydney, saying that he took credit when the team did well and blamed them when the team didn’t.

“He has so much control, entirely too much control over the U.S. team,” said Dantzscher, a native of Palmdale who now trains in San Dimas. `I think the individual coaches should have more control, because they know best what we need. . . . It’s really sad, because he knows so much about the sport of gymnastics, but he doesn’t know how to treat people.”

Neither Ray nor Maloney has any reason to be happy about the Sydney Games, where the U.S. team finished fourth and Ray was 11th in the all-around after a scary vault warmup (the horse was set at the wrong height, which touched off a scandal that some still argue invalidates the results) and seventh on beam.

For Maloney, the Olympics were the end of a career that was riddled with pain and ridicule. The pain came from her right leg, where she had fractured her tibia in 1998. She later had a rod surgically inserted and was competing again without having had much time to recover. The ridicule was because she was a gymnast whose form and execution were, in the opinion of the sport’s connaisseurs, relatively poor. But those who didn’t like her gymnastics haven’t really affected her, she said.

“When I was young, I made the mistake of reading that crap and that’s exactly what it is — crap,” Maloney said. “People don’t realize that these girls are just young girls, and it has an impact. They’re getting judged from a very young age.”

Even the whole making the Olympics thing wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. The 2000 generation followed in the footsteps of Kerri Strug, who learned something about pain on a memorable night in August 1996 but who had to deal with it and perform for about 40 seconds, not four years.

2000 U.S. Champion Ray, interviewed for a Maryland paper, has similar sentiments about her Olympic experience.

Sour memories remain for Ray of what should have been one of the greatest experiences of her life.

“We saw no one, we stayed in the village in a girls dorm, no closing ceremonies, no opening ceremonies … Very few people knew how bad it was for us (gymnasts). Everything that could have gone wrong did,” she said.

Marta Karolyi became national coordinator in 2001 and still holds the position.

“We were the guinea pig team,” Ray says of the 2000 squad.

By the time the vault controversy blew up, Ray and her teammates were nonplussed.

“What else could be thrown at us? It was like, ‘Are you serious?'”

Ray and Maloney told their respective newspapers they both hope to become teachers. But probably not teachers like Bela.

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.