Posts Tagged ‘Jordyn Wieber’

Should Jordyn Wieber compete at the American Cup?

January 14, 2009

Jordyn Wieber

Jordyn Wieber

News that the 13-year-old Junior U.S. champion will be making her (two years premature) senior debut at the American Cup next month in Chicago is turning some heads on two popular blogs.

2008 Olympian Bridget Sloan has also been confirmed as a competitor. The other two U.S. positions for the women’s competition have yet to be filled, although according to this article from the Los Angeles Times, the other women’s competitors will be Rebecca Downie (Great Britain), Koko Tsurumi (Japan), Ksenia Afanasyeva (Russia) and Jessica Lopez (Venezula and the University of Denver). That leaves two more (ostensibly U.S.) spots to be named.

Back to Wieber. The debate from commenters at Gymnastics Coaching and Triple Full includes these sentiments:

“I think [Wieber’s coach John Geddert’s] nuts… If she’s not going to be a senior for 2 two more years and he’s pushing her into a senior level comp this early? Nuts.”

“From what I have heard, the National Team Staff select the gymnasts to represent USA at certain meets. They can say no, but if they did they would be at the bottom of the list for a long time. That’s said to be why Melaine Sinclair and Kassi Price never made the teams that mattered.”

“I mean come on.. she can’t even compete as a senior! It’s just ridiculous…”

“Jordyn is one of the best in the US right now. Why shouldn’t she get the opportunity to compete. It’s not like the rules for junior meets are any different than senior meets.”

“USAG need a headliner for this meet. Bridget Sloan doesn’t fill the bill imo. They need to break the “next big thing” to get some attention.”

I’m not liking this. Seems to me that juniors should wait to compete at the AmCup until they get til senior status. I’d like to see Sloan, Lorthrop, Shaprio and Larson at the Cup.

Hmmm. If memory serves, the last super-young gymnast to compete at the American Cup was Kristal Uzelac of Parkette’s in 2001 (she would have been 14 at the time). Bianca Flohr of Cincinnati Gymnastics Academy competed in the preliminary round of the 2006 American Cup at 15. Uzelac had certainly proved that she deserved to be there — she was the two-time U.S. junior champion and being talked up as the next big thing.

It wasn’t her greatest competition. Uzelac was good on vault and floor but fell on beam on a Rulfova. Was she pushed into the senior ranks too soon? Maybe. In the long run her career fizzled because of injuries and burnout. Could those have been prevented by not training super difficult things at age 12? Maybe.

Then again, Nadia was at the inaugural American Cup (1976) at 14. And scored a 10 on floor.

Is this a good idea for Wieber? What do you think?

12 to watch in 2009 — a recap

January 8, 2009

Japans Kohei Uchimura is likely to be very successful in 2009.

Japan's Kohei Uchimura is likely to be very successful in 2009.

Posted late last month and early into this one, here are my picks for who will make waves in 2009:

    Sabrina Gill, Canada
    Kohei Uchimura, Japan
    Jeffery Wammes and Epke Zonderland, Netherlands
    Viktoria Komova, Russia
    Fabian Hambuchen, Germany
    Larissa Iordache, Romania
    Samantha Shapiro and Jordyn Wieber, USA
    Alexy Bilozerchev, USA
    Tatiana Nabieva, Russia
    Nathan Gafuik, Canada
    Cui Jie, China
    Benoit Caranobe, France

Honorable mentions: Peng-Peng Lee and Charlotte Mackie, Canada; Becky Downie, Great Britain; Koko Tsurumi, Japan; Paola Galente, Italy, Ksenia Semyonova, Aliya Mustafina and Nailia Mustafina,  Russia; Sergei Khorokhordin, Russia; Alexander Vorobyov, Ukraine; Stephen Legendre, USA; Thomas Bouhail, France; Zou Kai, China; Louis Smith, Great Britain. Good luck to all in 2009.

12 days of up and coming gymnasts, day seven

December 29, 2008
The elegant Samantha Shapiro, 15, is a rising star for the U.S.

The elegant Samantha Shapiro, 15, is a rising star for the U.S.

Jordyn Wieber and Samantha Shapiro, USA: Expect the dynamic Wieber and the elegant Shapiro to carry out this quad’s version of the Nastia and Shawn Show — that is, if Nastia and Shawn don’t return themselves.

Thirteen-year-old Wieber, the reigning junior national champion, was victorious at the Top Gym meet in Belgium earlier this month, while Shapiro competed alongside Nastia Liukin, Rebecca Bross and Darling Hill at the Pacifiic Rim Championships in the spring. There she dazzled everybody with her excellent form and sunny disposition (she didn’t stop smiling even when her floor exercise music stopped playing after her first pass.)

Look out for U.S. Junior Champ Jordyn Wieber this quad.

Look out for U.S. Junior Champ Jordyn Wieber this quad.

Shapiro, 15, also won bars and beam at the individual-events-only Pan American Union Championships in Rio against a strong field of, well, other Americans, including Olivia Courtney and Corrie Lothrop.

Wieber’s got the big skills (easy DTY, reportedly training an Amanar, effortless standing full on beam, double pike off), Shapiro’s got the elegance and grace (check out her uber-elegant mount). Like Nastia and Shawn, they’re two years apart. Hopefully they’re friends too — they’re going to be seeing a lot of each other in the next few years.

Destiny 2012 — Is it Rebecca Bross’s turn?

October 12, 2008
2007 U.S. Junior Champion Rebecca Bross performs on balance beam.

2007 U.S. Junior Champion Rebecca Bross performs on balance beam.

The pressure on Rebecca Bross is going to be intense during the next four years. She’s the up-and-coming WOGA superstar, already with one U.S. Junior Championship to her name, from a gym that has produced the last two Olympic champions.

Heck, after the performances of Carly Patterson and Nastia Liukin at their respective Olympic Games, anything less than the all-around crown is going to be a letdown. What a standard!

International Gymnast editor Dwight Normile gave the briefest of updates on Bross in his latest column.

I see 2007 U.S. junior champion Rebecca Bross, a transplant from Michigan, swinging through routines on the bars. She missed the nationals last summer with three broken bones in her foot, but is looking sharp here. I realize that, for most of the people in the gym at this hour, gymnastics is their life. It is not just an afterschool activity. The pace of practice is unhurried but steady. Few coaching comments are heard. Many of the gymnasts seem to be on autopilot, their workouts comfortably shaped by habit, driven by ambition.

It may be only a matter of time before Bross is anointed as USA Gymanstics’ next great hope. She and current U.S. junior champ Jordyn Wieber may play out the Shawn Johnson/Nastia Liukin rivalry of the next quad.

So what do you think? Does the U.S. have a potential gold in the hole with Bross?

Rebecca Bross, 2007 Pan-American Games Event Finals, Floor Exercise:

The Katie Teft retrospective

June 11, 2008

Katie TeftShergymrag pointed out in a comment that 2008 U.S. Junior champ Jordyn Wieber’s coach John Geddert also coached Olympic hopeful Katie Teft during the runup to the 1996 Games.

Teft’s breakthrough year really happened in 1995, when she (and to a greater extent a 13-year-old named Dominique Moceanu) made a splash at the Visa Invitational.

Teft had exceptional difficulty and extraordinary presentation for a 14-year-old. Check out this balance beam routine at the 1995 Olympic Test Event in the Georgia Dome. With her tumbling mount, dismount and flight series, this routine may have been more difficult than any member of the Mag 7’s beamwork in Atlanta.

Katie Teft, 1995 Olympic Test Event, Balance Beam:

Teft missed making the Olympic team by a pretty small margin. So what happened next? According to Gymnastics Greats

Katie pressed on with elite gymnastics, but in 1997 injuries caught up with her. Injuries were nothing knew to Katie. Prior to turning elite, she broke her ankles three separate times, and was later diagnosed with a calcium deficiency. In 1995, Katie suffered a herniated disc, and she reinjured the disc in 1997 on a fall from bars (ironically, bars is her best and favorite event). Due to her back injury, Katie took some time off the sport, returned to high school at Forest Hills Central High School, and began diving (a sport which did not aggravate her back injury like gymnastics).

Later in 1997, with her back injuries healed, Katie competed as a high school gymnast and won the Michigan state AA title, as well as the UB and BB titles. She recently returned to club competition, competing as a level ten at the Twistars Invitational. Katie has no intentions of returning to international elite gymnastics. Instead, she is setting her sights on college gymnastics, a more realistic goal due to her past back injuries.

Teft for Central Michigan University, with a fellow senior.Katie enrolled at the University of Massachusetts on a gymnastics scholarships in the fall of 1999. She competed for the U of M for three years, until they dropped their women’s program. She then transferred to the University of Central Michigan for her senior year. Competing for CMU, she qualified to the NCAA Championships as an individual qualifier on bars.

Too bad things didn’t work out for Teft as an elite. She was someone the U.S. desperately needed during those painful 1996-2000 years.

And if Geddert can create an athlete like that, Wieber’s in very good hands.

Bross leads junior women after day one

August 17, 2007

If the first day of competition was any indication of the future of U.S. gymnastics, Rebecca Bross and Samantha Shapiro will be playing a big role in it.

Rebecca Bross leads the junior competition at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships in San Jose, Calif.

Bross, 14, who trains at the same gym as two-time National champion Nastia Liukin, totaled a 58.95 during this afternoon’s preliminary round, putting her just 0.05 ahead of Shapiro, whose beautiful lines and toepoint are already setting her apart from the rest of the pack.

Despite falling on her Tkatchev on the uneven bars and a mildly shaky beam routine, Bross was clearly the cream of the competition. Her recent international experience at the Pan American Games has obviously helped immensely, and she’s bound to only get better.

Third after day one is Jordyn Wieber with a 58.5, who at just 12 years old is already a star in the making. Don’t let the cuteness fool you: This girl has moves some elite gymnasts train for 15 years and aren’t able to do.

Theirs will hopefully develop into a healthy rivalry as they get older. But make no mistake: The next great American gymnasts are in this bunch.