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Written by Amanda Turner    Wednesday, 19 October 2016 05:48    PDF Print
Morinari Watanabe Elected President of FIG
(5 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

Japan's Morinari Watanabe was elected the president of the International Gymnastics Federation on Wednesday in Tokyo, succeeding Italy's Bruno Grandi, who is retiring from his post after 20 years.

Japan's Morinari Watanabe was elected the president of the International Gymnastics Federation on Wednesday, succeeding Italy's Bruno Grandi, who is retiring from his post after 20 years.

Watanabe, elected at the 81st FIG Congress in Tokyo, is the ninth president in the history of the federation. He is the first non-European to lead the governing body for the sport.

Watanabe defeated France's Georges Guelzec, president of the European Union of Gymnastics, earning 100 votes to 19 for Guelzec.

"I'd like to thank the people who believed in me and voted for me," Watanabe said in his acceptance speech. "I am proud to have become president. The time to bring innovation to gymnastics has come. Gymnastics will be the king of sports."

Watanabe, 57, has been the secretary general of the Japan Gymnastics Association since 2010, and was elected to the FIG Executive Committee four years ago. An international businessman, he attended university in Sofia and is fluent in Bulgarian. He ran on a platform of increasing the popularity of the sport of gymnastics around the world. His technical proposals include establishing an official coaches' committee at the FIG, similar to the committee of athletes' representatives.

Watanabe's election makes him the only Japanese president of the governing body for an Olympic sport.

"I hope he will make efforts for the growth of world gymnastics and the Olympic movement, advance internationalization and enhance the presence of the Japanese sports community," said Japanese Olympic Committee president Tsunekazu Takeda said.

Watanabe's election caps off a thrilling 2016 for Japanese gymnastics. In August, the Japanese men won the Olympic team title in Rio de Janeiro, where Kohei Uchimura defended his all-around title. The 2020 Olympic Games will be in Tokyo.

Italy's Donatella Sacchi, who ran unopposed, was elected president of the Women's Technical Committee, succeeding Belarusian Nelli Kim, who was first elected in 2004. Kim was elected vice president of the FIG along with China's Luo Chaoyi (China) and Vasily Titov (Russia).

American Steve Butcher, who also ran unopposed, was re-elected president of the Men's Technical Committee. Russia's Natalia Kuzmina (Rhythmic Technical Committee) and Horst Kunze (Trampoline Technical Committee) were also re-elected as committee presidents.

Ali Al Hitmi (Qatar), Youssef Altabbaa (Syria), Jesus Carballo (Spain), Ron Galimore (United States), Kim Dong Min (Korea), Jani Tanskanen (Finland) and Martin Reddin (Great Britain) were elected to the FIG Executive Committee.

Holger Albrecht (Germany), Julio Marcos (Spain), Arturs Mickevics (Latvia) and Hiroyuki Tomita (Japan) were re-elected to the Men's Technical Committee. Jeff Thomson (Canada) and Andrew Tombs (Great Britain) were elected as new members, while Huang Liping (China) and Han Yoon Soo (Korea) were not re-elected.

Four members of the Women's Technical Committee were re-elected: Lyubov Burda Andrianova (Russia), Kym Dowdell (Australia), Naomi Valenzo (Mexico), and Zhou Qiurui. Canada's Yelena Davydova and Syria's Radie Zinal were elected as new members. Austria's Johanna Gratt and American Tatiana Perskaia came up short in their bids to make the committee.

External Link: 2016 FIG Election Results

Presidents of the International Gymnastics Federation

11881LiègeNicolas J. Cupérus Belgium
21924ParisCharles Cazalet France
31933LausanneAdam Zamoyski Poland
41946GenevaFélix Goblet d'Alviella Belgium
51956ViennaCharles Thoeni Switzerland
61966DortmundArthur Gander Switzerland
71976MontrealYuri Titov Soviet Union
81996AtlantaBruno Grandi Italy
92016TokyoMorinari Watanabe Japan

Written by John Crumlish    Tuesday, 11 October 2016 08:36    PDF Print
Hernandez A 'True Pleasure' To Coach, Says Haney
(5 votes, average 4.20 out of 5)

In an interview in the October 2016 issue of International Gymnast magazine, MG Elite coach Maggie Haney said that coaching 2016 Olympic gold and silver medalist Laurie Hernandez has enriched her life.

“It has been a true pleasure to coach Laurie since she was just a little girl,” said Haney, who also coaches 2014 U.S. junior all-around champion Jazmyn Foberg and 2016 U.S junior all-around silver medalist Riley McCusker. “She has made my day-to-day life better. I love her like my own daughter.”

A native of Richardson, Texas, Haney attended North Carolina State on a full ride and became the first Wolfpack gymnast to score a 10.0 (balance beam).

Read the complete interview with Haney in the October 2016 issue of International Gymnast magazine. To subscribe to the print and/or digital editions, click here.

Written by Amanda Turner    Friday, 23 September 2016 08:57    PDF Print
Ferrari Undergoes Double Achilles' Tendon Surgery
(3 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

Three-time Italian Olympian Vanessa Ferrari underwent surgery Thursday on both her Achilles' tendons, she shared with fans.

Three-time Italian Olympian Vanessa Ferrari underwent surgery Thursday on both her Achilles' tendons, she shared with fans.

Ferrari at the clinic after her surgery

Ferrari had a repair on her left ankle at a clinic Brescia, where she also used the opportunity to clean up her right Achilles' tendon. Ferrari, the 2006 world champion and 2007 European champion, shared photos from the clinic after undergoing surgery, which she said went well.

"I'm still a bit knocked out by anesthesia, otherwise it looks all right," posted Ferrari, who has struggled with foot and ankle issues since 2008. "Since I was here, we also touched up the right one!"

Ferrari was back at her Brescia gym on Friday, albeit in a wheelchair, her left leg in a heavy cast.

Despite the disappointment of a second consecutive fourth-place finish on floor exercise at the Olympic Games, Ferrari has said she is not done with the sport. She held off on a retirement announcement after the Olympics in Rio, taking a vacation in Sardinia to regroup.

But along with the news of her planned surgery, Ferrari shared with fans that she wants to come back. "I have no plans to retire," she said last week.. "If all goes well, I will still have something to say."

But Ferrari, who turns 26 in November, said she intends to take her time before returning to competition. She plans to take the next six months to rest and rehabilitate before heading back to the gym.

Written by Admin    Friday, 16 September 2016 07:40    PDF Print
Liukin Named U.S. Women's National Team Coordinator
(12 votes, average 4.08 out of 5)

From USA Gymnastics…

INDIANAPOLIS, Sept. 16, 2016 – Two-time Olympic champion Valeri Liukin of Parker, Texas, has been named the U.S. Women’s National Team coordinator, USA Gymnastics announced today.  Liukin, who has served as the elite developmental coordinator since 2013, is perhaps best-known as the personal coach for Nastia Liukin, who won the 2008 Olympic all-around title and has five Olympic and nine World career medals. Liukin, who will remain based in Texas, will report to Rhonda Faehn, senior vice president of women’s program for USA Gymnastics.

“Valeri has excelled as a personal coach, and he has demonstrated his ability to lead and guide other coaches through his efforts as the elite developmental coordinator,” said Steve Penny, president of USA Gymnastics.  “He will provide a smooth transition from the program that has been created, and Valeri is recognized as a capable and talented coach.”

Faehn said, “Valeri already has been working with future national team members for 2020 and 2024 as the elite developmental coordinator.  He is known for his coaching techniques and his willingness to share that knowledge with upcoming coaches.  As a personal coach and developmental coordinator, Valeri has been involved in the semi-centralized system that has achieved the USA’s greatest international results and already has a strong working relationship with the country’s top coaches on the senior, junior and developmental levels. Valeri and I share a vision for the continued success of USA Gymnastics.”

“I am very honored to accept the position of national team coordinator,” said Liukin. “I'm ready to put all of my knowledge and passion into leading the women's national team to continued success.”

As the U.S. Women’s National Team coordinator, Liukin will develop the strategic plan and training program for all members of the U.S. Women’s National Team, including conducting national team training camps; attending national and international competitions as needed; overseeing international competition assignments for athletes, coaches and judges; coordinating scheduling and activities for the developmental program and the Talent Opportunity Program (TOPs); and working with the national coaching staff. He is just the third person to serve as the U.S. women’s national team coordinator, following Martha Karolyi (2001-16) and Bela Karolyi (1999-2000).

Most recently, Liukin directed the women's athlete developmental program as the elite developmental coordinator.

Liukin is a co-founder and owner of the World Olympic Gymnastics Academy (WOGA), which has produced more than 30 national team members and 35 World and Olympic medals, including Olympic all-around champions Carly Patterson in 2004 and Nastia Liukin in 2008 and 2016 Olympic team gold and uneven bars silver medalist Madison Kocian. He was the personal coach for Nastia Liukin, who won the 2008 Olympic all-around title and has five Olympic and nine World medals to her credit; Rebecca Bross, who has six World medals; Ivana Hong, 2009 World balance beam bronze medalist; and Katelyn Ohashi, 2013 AT&T American Cup champion and 2011 U.S. junior all-around gold medalist. His coaching accomplishments and accolades include: U.S. National Team coach, 1998-2011; International Coach of the Year, 2002, 2004; International Gymnastics Hall of Fame, 2005; USA Gymnastics Coach of the Year, 2006; U.S. Team head coach, 2007 Pan American Games; 2008 U.S. Olympic Team coach; 2009 International Gymnastics Coach of the Year; and USA Gymnastics Hall of Fame (2016).

As an athlete, Liukin was a member of the Soviet National Team from 1985-92. During his career, he won two gold and two silver medals at the 1988 Olympic Games; five gold medals at the 1990 Goodwill Games; two gold medals and one silver at the 1987-91 World Championships; and four gold, one silver and one bronze at the European Championships. He was the first gymnast to perform a triple back flip on floor and has a horizontal bar skill named after him.

Liukin earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education from Kazakh Academy of Sport and Tourism in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

Written by Amanda Turner    Thursday, 08 September 2016 14:15    PDF Print
Forminte Returns as Romanian Head Coach
(2 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

The Romanian Gymnastics Federation reappointed Nicolae Forminte as head coach of the Romanian women's team on Thursday. Pictured: Forminte at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, where Romania won the team bronze.

Forminte, head coach of Romania from 2005 to 2010, will take charge and the senior national team will return to the training center at Deva, where only the juniors have trained for several years. Larisa Iordache, Cătălina Ponor and Anamaria Ocolișan, however, will remain at the training center in Bucharest with their personal coaches.

The decision comes after a nightmare year for Romania, in which the team failed to qualify a full team for the Olympic Games for the first time since 1968, ending a streak in which the Romanian women won a team medal at every Olympic Games from 1976 to 2012. The team had been decimated by injury and retirements, particularly among the "lost" generation: the two dozen or so juniors identified in 2012 as hopefuls for 2016 squad. There were numerous coaching changes, and coaching legends Octavian Bellu and Mariana Bitang returned for a brief period in 2016.

Adrian Stoica, president of the Romanian Gymnastics Federation, said the federation had examined its own responsibilities for the problems.

"We've had an extremely cruel recent period with what has befallen our gymnastics," Stoica said. "Sure, there were some mistakes, and perhaps more than a few of our own, that had direct repercussions on the overall results, errors which we want to avoid going forward. Above all, we decided for greater responsibility for the athletes and team coaches to maximize the process of training and competition for the national team … and to bring to the fore new talents from the club."

The immediate goal is to prepare the contenders for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, and the new plans in place should maximize Romania's chances, Forminte said.

"The new organizational principles will ensure gymnasts training with a unified concept of preparing methodologically and technically, especially on the apparatus that gives us the most troubles, uneven bars," said Forminte, who was the personal coach of three-time Olympic champion Simona Amânar. "We have a program capable of meeting the rigors of intense talent whose value can climb."

Forminte will return to Deva, where he will be assisted by Liliana Cosma, Florin Cotuțiu, Daniela Nicolai, Remus Nicolai and Adela Popa. The national team of seniors and juniors set to train at Deva was identified as Olivia Cîmpean, Alesia Botnaru, Carmen Ghiciuc, Ioana Crișan, Carmen Glăvan, Denisa Florea, Alexandra Mihai, Andra Anghelescu, Beatrice Butunoi, Denisa Golgotă, Laura Iacob, Nica Ivănuș, Ariadna Stanciu, Laura Jurca, Dora Vulcan, Maria Holbură, Denisa Stanciu, Camelia Anghel, Alexia Borăscu, Ioana Stănciulescu and Antonia Duță.

The youth team in Onești is coached by Raluca Bugner, along with Ioana Grava, Florin Uzum, Ramona Micu and Marius Vintilă. The gymnasts currently training there are Iulia Berar, Maria Pană, Diana Mandrea, Ana Maria Puiu, Ioana Oprea, Teodora Manolache, Coleen Tătaru, Silvia Sfiringu, Daniela Trică and Luiza Popa.

The federation said that Iordache, Ponor and Ocolișan, who expressed their desire to keep training in Bucharest, will be given full support for their training. The federation also decided that Diana Bulimar, Daniela Ciurusniuc and Silvia Zarzu will be released from the national team to continue training at clubs, but can return if they make progress.

External Link: Romania Gymnastics Federation

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