Posts Tagged ‘Miles Avery’

12 days of up and coming gymnasts, day eight

December 30, 2008

Alexy Bilozerchev, USA: A long time ago (OK, a little more than a year ago), when the Hamm twins were still making their comeback and it seemed Sasha Artemev was guarenteed a spot on the 2008 Olympic team, I theorized that Alexy Bilozerchev was going to be the next, um, Dmitri Bilozerchev.

Like father like son and all that.

Never mind that winning a junior national championship means even less if you’re a guy than if you’re a woman. Never mind that he competed with the seniors during the second day of competition and finished in 10th place. Never mind that nobody’s really seen what this kid looks like.

Alexy Bilozerchev is almost certainly the next great U.S. champion.

He’s a new face cloaked with an old name, and he could help bring the U.S. men back to dominance the way his father helped the Soviet Union achieve gymnastics greatness.

Alexy may very well be the next big thing in gymnastics, but coming off his 2007 U.S. Junior title, he was not one of the major stories of 2008. Oh, well, maybe in 2009.

There’s good reason to expect a lot from Alexy, even though he’s all of 17. Heck, by the time his father Dmitri was 17 (a reference I’m sure he hears a lot more than he wants to), he was a World Champion.

Dmitri Bilozerchev was one of the Soviet greats. His story is one of dominant victory, a literally shattering injury, victory again and finally Olympic almost-victory.

…if his career is anything like his father’s Alexy will one day wind up in the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame.

At age 16 in 1983, Dmitri Bilozerchev was the top gymnast in the world. He had class, he had style, he made it look so, so easy. But in 1985, just before the World Championships, he crashed his car into a tree, shattering his left leg. The only reason it wasn’t amputated was because a few minutes before the leg was to be removed, somebody recognized that he was the best gymnast in the U.S.S.R.

A more subdued, grown up Bilozerchev appeared at the 1987 World Championships in Rotterdam, Holland and reclaimed his world title. At the 1988 Olympics, Bilozerchev was poised to take the gold medal, but his coach told him not to water down his high bar routine to protect his lead. Bilozertchev made a small mistake and wound up third.

Alexy Bilozerchev, a freshman at Ohio State (where Dmitri is an assistant coach to Miles Avery) is tall for a male gymnast (picture his 5’9″ frame next to Jon Horton’s 5’3″ish one). His 2008 season was successful if not spectacular (fourth at the 2008 U.S. Men’s Qualifier, 10th at the U.S. Championships on vault and pommel horse.) I’m expecting more this year.

So, apparently, is Dmitri.

“It’s his sport,” Bilozerchev said of his son in 2007. “Of course everybody knows who I am. Or who I was. But he’s going to get what he deserves. He’s put in so much work. He makes it by himself.”

Miles Avery: USA Gymnastics Coach of the Year

June 1, 2008

OSU coach Miles AveryCourtesy of the Big 10 Network:

Miles Avery, Ohio State men’s gymnastics head coach and personal coach for Paul and Morgan Hamm and Blaine Wilson, was awarded the 2008 USA Gymnastics Coach of the Year honor after a vote by his peers at the 2008 VISA Championships last weekend in Houston.

Avery is probably better known to the mainstream gymnastics fan as coach of the Hamm twins and Wilson. But his “day job” at Ohio State is just as important. Next year, he’ll get to help mold Ohio recruit Alexy Bilozertchev, who very well be the next great U.S. Men’s Champion.

Morgan Hamm sidelined… by allergic reaction

April 24, 2008

Paul and Morgan HammMorgan Hamm can’t seem to get a break.

First it was the torn pectoral muscle in training in October. Wednesday it was an allergic reaction at the Men’s National Qualifier in Colorado Springs, the Associated Press reported.


Roethlisberger’s take: Hamm looks good, Wilson a question mark

February 6, 2008

Paul HammThree-time U.S. Olympian John Roethlisberger attended one of Paul and Morgan Hamm’s workouts with coach Miles Avery at Ohio State University. He blogged about the experience for Inside Gymnastics Magazine.

The upshot: Paul looks great. Morgan, recovering from a torn pectoralis in his right bicep, is a few weeks ahead of schedule, and Blaine Wilson, who is training with the twins at OSU, is “in great shape as well, although he struggled a little bit on his routines.”

He’s amazing though. His body has been through the wringer, but somehow he keeps going. Even with the struggles, he showed flashes of what made Blaine a three-time Olympian. If he makes his fourth, it will be an amazing feat, and if anyone can do it, Blaine can.

Blaine WilsonP. Hamm and Wilson are competing in the Winter Cup in Las Vegas this weekend. So is nearly every other U.S. man trying to make the Olympic team.

The newly-engaged Morgan posted an announcement and some post-injury training videos on the Hamms’ website, For him, the recovery began a long time ago, but the journey is far from over.

Onorato, Bilozertchev to Ohio State

November 20, 2007

All the cool kids are going to Ohio State University.

Buckeyes head coach Miles Avery announced today that Philip Onorato and Alexy Bilozertchev, son of the great Soviet champion Dmirtri Bilzoertchev, who now works as an assistant to Avery at OSU, would be joining the team in 2009.

Inking Onorato, a WOGA product who has won the U.S. Junior Championship twice, and Bilozertchev, himself currently the junior national champion in the 16-18 age group, is a huge plus for OSU, which hasn’t won a national title since 1999.

Stanford favored in men’s gymnastics preseason coaches poll

October 23, 2007

U.S. National team member Sho Nakamori leads the Cardinal in its 2008 campaign for the NCAA Championship.

Coaches say the boys from the farm are the ones most likely to walk away with the 2008 NCAA title, but they’ll face strong opposition from men’s gymnastics powerhouses Penn State, Oklahoma and Ohio State.

    2008 GymInfo Preseason Coaches Poll

1. Stanford (8)
2. Penn State (4)
3. Oklahoma (2)
4. Ohio State (1)
5. California
6. Michigan
7. Minnesota
8. Illinois
9. Iowa
10. Nebraska
11. Temple
12. Army
13. Illinois-Chicago
14. William & Mary
15. Navy

To look at many collegiate women’s teams is to see gymnasts whose elite heyday happened before they went to college. Meanwhile, NCAA men’s gymnastics is where those who are gunning for the 2008 Olympic trials cut their teeth.

Stanford has current U.S. Championships bronze medalist Sho Nakamori, U.S. National team member David Sender and 2007 NCAA rings champion Alex Schorsch. Oklahoma has Jonathan Horton and Taqiy Abdullah-Simmons, the 2006 and 2007 NCAA all-around champions, respectively. Ohio State has Paul and Morgan Hamm’s coach Miles Avery and seniors D.J. Bucher and Jimmy Wickham, both of whom have competed well at the U.S. Championships. Illinois has Wes Haagensen and a highly touted freshman class. Cal has Tim McNeill, the 2007 NCAA champ on pommel horse and parallel bars.

Any of these guys are capable of leading their teams to NCAA glory. But the best team in the nation, however, seems to be the one with the fewest elite stars. Penn State’s biggest name is probably Kevin Tan, an alum of the Nittany Lions and two World Championship teams.