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Written by John Crumlish    Tuesday, 21 June 2016 07:25    PDF Print
Hambüchen on Fourth Olympic Bid: 'I Won't Give Up'
(2 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

Three-time German Olympian Fabian Hambüchen told IG that he is optimistic as he prepares for the upcoming German Championships, German Olympic Trials and hopefully the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in August.

“We’ll have nationals on June 25 and 26 and another trial on July 9,” Hambüchen said. “The team will be named on July 10. I will compete there but just on floor, vault and high bar. I hope I will be ready soon but I couldn't work out for about three months because of my shoulder injury. I just started training again two weeks ago. So it will be tough to get ready for trials, but I won't give up.”

Although Hambüchen did not compete at last month’s European Championships in Bern, Switzerland, he commended the German men’s performances there.

“Europeans were OK for Germany,” he told IG. “It was a new team, and fifth place is not too bad. Marcel Nguyen took the bronze on parallel bars which was really important for German gymnastics.”

International Gymnast magazine's features on German gymnasts include:

"Shooting Star" - Tabea Alt profile (May 2015)

"Tough Lesson" - Janine Berger interview (October 2012)

Kim Bui interview (April 2013)

Maike Enderle profile (September 2014)

"Renaissance Man" – Fabian Hambüchen cover story (December 2013)

"New View from the Top" - Lisa Katharina Hill profile (July/August 2013)

"Leaps and Bounds for Germany" - Nadine Jarosch profile (January/February 2012)

"Silver Streak" - Marcel Nguyen interview (November 2012)

"Quick Chat: Pauline Schäfer" (January/February 2015)

"Calm, Clean Style" - Sophie Scheder profile (December 2013)

"Seizing the Moment" - Elisabeth Seitz interview (July/August 2011)

To order back issues, or subscribe to the print and/or digital edition of International Gymnast magazine, click here.

 
Written by John Crumlish    Thursday, 16 June 2016 09:35    PDF Print
Downie Up for Return to Olympic Stage
(2 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

Recently crowned European uneven bars champion Becky Downie of Great Britain told IG she has the power and potential to score even higher at this summer’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

At the European Championships earlier this month in Bern, Switzerland, Downie took gold on uneven bars with a score of 15.500 points. Second with 15.466 was Russia’s Daria Spiridonova, who was one of four gymnasts to share gold on the apparatus at the 2015 World Championships. Russia’s Aliya Mustafina, the 2012 Olympic champion on uneven bars, finished third with 15.100

“I think there is a lot of room for improvement,” said Downie, whose 6.9 D-score was the highest in the final. “This didn't feel like one of my best routines but I was very happy to get through it at a major event. I can improve the flight of my Tkatchevs, my Shang felt particularly close in this routine, and definitely I can improve my handstands and dismount landing.”

Downie, who finished 12th all-around at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, is hopeful that she will be selected for the British team heading to Rio. Among her rivals for a spot on the team is her younger sister, Ellie Downie, who placed second on vault and second on floor exercise in Bern.

Should 24-year-old Becky be named to the British Olympic team when it is announced on July 12, she aims to make the most of her return to the Games.

“Firstly it would be such a huge accomplishment to just be selected to compete in Rio,” she told IG. “If I am selected I think the dream would be to just produce the quality routines I know I'm capable of on that stage. If I can do that, I can walk away knowing I gave it my all and have no regrets.”

Read coverage of the 2016 European Championships in the June issue of International Gymnast magazine; “A Sorority of Success,” a dual interview with the Downie sisters, in the June 2014 issue; and “Soldiering On,” a profile on Spiridonova, in the May 2016 issue.

International Gymnast magazine's recent coverage of British gymnasts includes:

Coach Barry Collie interview (July/August 2014)

“A Sorority of Success” - Becky Downie/Ellie Downie interviews (June 2014)

“Britain’s New Bombshell” - Claudia Fragapane interview (December 2014)

"European Brilliance" - Ruby Harrold interview (September 2013)

Lisa Mason interview (May 2015)

“Mounting His Challenge” - Louis Smith interview (March 2016)

“Britain’s Best” - Amy Tinkler/Catherine Lyons interviews (June 2015)

"Lord Max" - Max Whitlock interview (June 2013)

Becky Downie, Whitlock, Nile Wilson and Brinn Bevan on cover (June 2014)

“Branching Out” - Rebecca Tunney profile (May 2014)

To subscribe or order back issues, click here.

 
Written by John Crumlish    Tuesday, 14 June 2016 07:03    PDF Print
Yul Moldauer: Youthful Challenger for Rio
(4 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

Although U.S. gymnast Yul Moldauer is relatively inexperienced in international competition, his all-around victory at the NCAA Championships in April and his fifth-place all-around finish (tied with OTC gymnast Donnell Whittenburg and Ohio State's Sean Melton) at the (P&G) U.S. Championships make him a potential challenger for a spot on the U.S. team for this summer’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

“I am shocked,” said Moldauer of winning the NCAA title as a freshman. “I came into the meet with the mindset of the team. I knew that, if I did that, success would come.”

Born Aug. 26, 1996, Moldauer trained at 5280 in Wheat Ridge, Colorado, before enrolling at Oklahoma in 2015. He was a member of the first-place U.S. team at a 2010 tri-meet among the U.S., Switzerland and Great Britain, held in Lilleshall, England; placed eighth all-around and first on parallel bars in the junior division at the 2013 Kyle Shewfelt Festival in Calgary and won a team gold medal with the U.S. at the 2013 International Junior Mexican Cup in Acapulco.

In U.S. domestic competition, Moldauer was second all-around in the Junior 14-15 division at the 2012 Visa (U.S.) Championships, second all-around in the Junior 17-18 division at the 2014 P&G (U.S.) Championships, and fifth all-around at the 2016 Winter Cup Challenge, a U.S. men’s ranking meet.

Akash Modi of Stanford, who placed fourth all-around at the P&G Championships, is another candidate. He is strong on pommel horse, which is traditionally a weak event for the U.S.

Read IG’s coverage of the P&G Championships and Olympic Trials in the July/August issue of International Gymnast magazine. To subscribe or order back issues, click here.

 
Written by John Crumlish    Tuesday, 31 May 2016 12:05    PDF Print
Consistency, Confidence Key For Canada’s Roberts
(2 votes, average 4.50 out of 5)

First-year senior and Olympic candidate Megan Roberts told IG that a balanced performance at this week’s Canadian Championships in Edmonton will help her prepare for the upcoming Canadian Olympic team trials.

“My targets are to hit my routines and show consistency but also try to be in the top five,” Roberts said. “I will use this competition as a practice meet to prepare for trials. It will give me a chance to compete my routines another time before it really counts.”

Roberts is expected to vie for a spot on the Canadian team for this summer’s Olympic Games in Rio. She placed second all-around at the 2015 Canadian Junior Championships and second all-around at the Elite Canada meet in February. Roberts helped Canada win the team silver medal, and placed fifth on balance beam and sixth on floor exercise, at the Pacific Rim Championships in Everett, Washington, in April.

With a berth to the Rio Games at stake, Roberts is taking the pressure in stride.

“Even though this year’s nationals will probably be the most important nationals of my career, I am trying not to think of it that way,” she told IG. “I'm going into them as if they were any other competition because, if all I think about is how important this meet will be, I won't be focused. I'm also trying to build consistency in my routines so that, going into the meet, I won't be worried about my routines and I will feel much more confident.”

Read “Making Her Move for Canada,” a profile on Roberts, in the April 2015 issue of International Gymnast magazine.

International Gymnast magazine's recent coverage of Canadian gymnastics includes:

Jade Chrobok profile (April 2016)

Chrobok and Meixi Semple cover photo inset (March 2016)

"Aiming to Top the Charts" – Maegan Chant interview (October 2013)

"Canadian Beacon" – Ellie Black interview (September 2015)

"Canadian Promise" – Black chat and Robert Watson profile (July/August 2014)

"Canadian Diversity" – Black and Hugh Smith profiles (July/August 2013)

Chat with Christine Peng-Peng Lee (April 2015)

"Sudden Impact" – Victoria Moors interview (January/February 2013)

"Making Tracks" – Scott Morgan profile (December 2013)

Isabela Onyshko profile (July/August 2014)

Megan Roberts profile (April 2015)

Aleeza Yu two-page photo spread (May 2014)

To order back issues, or subscribe to the print and/or digital edition of International Gymnast magazine, click here.

 
Written by John Crumlish    Wednesday, 25 May 2016 08:41    PDF Print
Austria's Ecker On Rio Berth: 'I Didn't Know Whether to Cry or Laugh'
(3 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

Perseverant Austrian gymnast Lisa Ecker earned a berth to this summer’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro while posting her best international all-around total at the Olympic test event in Rio in April, but she told IG she is aiming for even higher scores at the Rio Games.

“It will be my last competition and I hope it will be the best I have ever done,” said Ecker, who posted an all-around total of 53.132 points to place 37th all-around at the test event. “My coach (Johanna Gratt) and I expect to reach 54 points and we hope it is good enough to be in the top 35. Our goal is to compete healthy and to have fun.”

Ecker said she felt mixed emotions when she realized her performance at the test event was enough to advance her to the Games.

“That feeling was indescribable,” said Ecker, a veteran of the last six World Championships. “I did not know if I should cry or laugh. I did not know what to do! I just hugged Johanna, and both of us started to cry because we realized that we did the unexpected thing. Our dream has come true. I will compete at the Olympic Games.”

Ecker said her successful bid for the Rio Games was a true team effort.

“I am really satisfied with my competition,” she said. “I am so proud of my coach, my medical team — Dr. Robert Kandelhart and physiotherapist Siegrid Egger — and of course, myself. I think we all did a very good job. I could not realize how great this competition was.”

Born Sept. 19, 1992, in Linz, Ecker represents ASKÖ Kleinmünchen, but trains at TGW Trainingscenter in Linz. Her coaches are Johanna Gratt on all apparatuses, and Tanja Gratt on beam and “floor expression.” Her choreographer is Julia Nica, who designed her beam and floor routines and with whom she takes ballet twice weekly.

Perseverance has kept Ecker on track for Rio despite setbacks, including a torn anterior cruciate ligament in 2011, a torn posterior cruciate ligament in 2013, knee problems in 2015 and a broken fourth metatarsal in March this year.

Outside of the test event, Ecker’s best results this year include third place on vault, fourth place on uneven bars and fourth place on floor exercise at the Challenge Cup of Baku in February; and sixth place on vault at the Challenge Cup of Varna on May 14.

Ecker, who is set to compete at the European Championships in Bern early next month, is upgrading and finessing her routines for maximum results in Rio.

“I hope I can improve my performance,” she said. “I am working on a higher start value, and we are really working hard to improve my expression on floor and beam. We are also trying to reach a higher amplitude on gymnastic jumps. At the test event I had little problems with my landings on floor, so we are trying to control them.

Although Ecker is the only Austrian artistic gymnast to qualify for the Rio Games, she is eager to share her Olympic experience.

“I am really proud to be the only gymnast who has the possibility to represent Austria,” she told IG. “I'm really looking forward to celebrating this event with the whole Austrian delegation, so I don't think I will be there alone. I think we will be a big family having fun together at the Olympic Games.”

International Gymnast magazine's coverage of Austrian gymnasts includes:

“Rocking to the Top” - Marco Baldauf profile (July/August 2006)

“From Torn to Reborn” - Lisa Ecker profile (July/August 2013)

“Fueled and Focused” - Barbara Gasser profile (April 2012)

“Central European Sojourn” – includes IG's visit with Carina Hasenoehrl in

Graz, Austria (January/February 2010)

“The Courage of Carina” - Hasenoehrl memoire (July/August 2007)

To order back issues, or subscribe to the print and/or digital edition of International Gymnast magazine, click here.

 
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