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Written by dwight normile    Wednesday, 16 May 2012 11:47    PDF Print
Caslavska To Join 2012 Hall of Fame Class
(5 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

Four gymnastics legends will be inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame on Saturday. The 16th annual induction dinner will be held at the exclusive Petroleum Club in Oklahoma City, and the 2012 class features Zoltan Magyar (Hungary), Natalia Shaposhnikova (Russia) and Kim Zmeskal (USA). Vera Caslavska (Czech Republic), who was officially inducted in 1998 but could not make the trip, is scheduled to attend this year to accept her honor.

Receiving the Frank Bare Award will be Doug Wilson, who produced and directed numerous World and Olympic gymnastics broadcasts for ABC Sports. Wilson won 17 Emmys during his 45 years with ABC.

Caslavska is by far the most decorated of the foursome. The Prague native is the only gymnast ever to win an Olympic title in the all-around and on every apparatus. In a career that lasted from 1958-68, Caslavska won 11 Olympic medals (seven gold) and 10 world championship medals (five gold). At Mexico 1968, her third consecutive Olympics, Caslavska won four golds (all-around, vault, uneven bars, floor exercise) and two silvers (team, balance beam).

Unlike Caslavska, Magyar created his legacy by mastering a single apparatus. From 1973-1980, he won two Olympic, three world, two World Cup and three European titles, all on pommel horse. Magyar was the first to travel the horse lengthwise, and he also introduced the Magyar Spindle. His innovative influence on the event has been profound not only in Hungary — Budapest native Krisztian Berki is the current world champion — but throughout the world.

Shaposhnikova's career coincided with some of the sport's greatest stars in history — Nadia Comaneci, Nellie Kim — yet she was able to make a name for herself nonetheless. Trained by Vladislav Rastorotsky, coach of Lyudmila Turischeva and later Natalia Yurchenko, Shaposhnikova put her name in the Code of Points for her free-hip-hecht from low bar to high on the uneven bars, and her one-arm handstand-reverse planche was one of her trademark skills on balance beam. Today Shaposhikova and husband Pavel Sut have their own gym, Gymnastika, in Patterson, N.J.

Zmeskal was the spark plug that ignited a sputtering U.S. women's program, which had peaked at the 1984 Olympics (all-around gold, team silver). In Indianapolis in 1991, Zmeskal became the first American to win a world all-around title. The following year, at the inaugural Individual Apparatus World Championships in Paris, Zmeskal added golds on balance beam and floor exercise. Now she and husband Chris Burdette run a successful elite program in Coppell, Texas, called Texas Dreams.

For more on the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame, click here.

Written by Amanda Turner    Wednesday, 09 May 2012 07:39    PDF Print
Bruised Knee Forces Yao Out of Chinese Nationals
(6 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

World all-around bronze medalist Yao Jinnan will miss this week's Chinese nationals due to a knee injury, her coach said Wednesday.

World all-around bronze medalist Yao Jinnan will miss this week's Chinese nationals due to a knee injury, her coach said Wednesday.

Yao suffered a bruised knee on vault on Monday during training in Shanghai, but is expected to make a full return, coach Wang Qunce said.

"Apparently it's not swollen and the MRI scan showed that the injury is not serious," Wang said. "She could return to training in one or two weeks."

Yao was the all-around bronze medalist at the 2011 World Championships in Tokyo, where she also won the silver medal on beam and helped China take third in the team competition.

Yao, 17, wanted to compete in Shanghai, where she was a favorite for the all-around title.

"Jinnan was eager to compete and she said 'I'm OK' after the injury," Wang said. "But to protect her from aggravating the injury, we persuaded her to withdraw. After all, this championships is not the deciding tournament [for the Olympics]."

External Link: Chinese Gymnastics Association

Written by Amanda Turner    Monday, 07 May 2012 08:14    PDF Print
Seitz Withdraws from Europeans with Back Injury
(5 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

German star Elisabeth Seitz has pulled out of this week's European championships due to a back injury, the German gymnastics federation announced Monday.

Seitz, the all-around silver medalist at the 2011 European Championships in Berlin, is suffering from muscle pain and inflammation. Team doctor Rainer Eckhardt said the back pain was triggered by her ongoing foot injury, according to the Deutscher Turner-Bund's website.

"We don't want to take any risks in regard to the Olympic Games in London and have therefore scratched this meet," said Ulla Koch, head coach of the German women's team. "The back muscles should calm down now in the coming days. We are confident that she can then resume training again."

Pia Tolle will replace Seitz in Brussels, where the women's European championships begin Wednesday. The competition is for senior team and individual apparatus and junior team, all-around and apparatus.

External Link: Deutscher Turner-Bund

Written by John Crumlish    Sunday, 06 May 2012 06:00    PDF Print
Whelan Willing, Able To Step Up at Europeans
(8 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

Although team star Beth Tweddle will miss this week's European championships following knee surgery, two-time British national all-around champion Hannah Whelan told IG that she and the rest of the squad are focused on defending their silver medal in the team competition.

Hannah Whelan (Great Britain)

"It will not be an easy task due to the strength of the other European teams, and we are also missing our team captain, Beth," said Whelan of Europeans, which will take place May 9-13 in Brussels. "We have been working really hard, and our aim is to compete as best we can and hit the routines we have been practicing in training."

Whelan, a 2008 Olympian, said she also considers Brussels to be important as she readies herself for this summer's Olympic Games in London.

"Europeans is a key stepping stone in my preparation for the Olympics, and the whole team and I have been working extremely hard at Lilleshall (British national training center)," said Whelan, who is coached by 1984 Olympian Amanda Harrison Reddin. "I totally trust Amanda. She knows exactly what she wants me to do and what needs to be in my training program in order for me to have a successful year."

Whelan said she is confident she can serve as a team leader in Brussels, especially in Tweddle's absence. The 27-year-old Tweddle, a three-time world apparatus champion, has won 11 medals at Europeans, including seven golds.

"It is a shame that Beth is missing out on Europeans, but her main priority is to get fit for the summer and she is recovering well," Whelan said. "I am lucky to have the experience behind me now to support and lead the rest of the team, and to make it enjoyable for the younger and less-experienced team members."

Whelan said her plans for Brussels include team and personal success.

"My priority for Europeans is to help the team achieve a good result in the team final," she told IG. "Individually it would be great if I made a final or two. As I said, my main goals are to help the team the best I can by hitting the routines I have been practicing in training."

External Link: British Gymnastics

Written by Amanda Turner    Monday, 30 April 2012 08:27    PDF Print
Pre-Olympic Injury an Emotional Blow for French Gymnast Della Vedova
(9 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

For French world team member Clara Della Vedova, the pain of losing a chance at this summer's Olympic Games is worse than the torn Achilles' tendon she suffered last week, the gymnast told IG. Pictured: Della Vedova, far right, helped France placed third at the London test-event in January.

Clara Della Vedova (France)

For French world team member Clara Della Vedova, the pain of losing a chance at this summer's Olympic Games is worse than the torn Achilles' tendon she suffered last week, the gymnast told IG.

"It's not easy, because I find it difficult to move," she said. "But I'm not suffering too much pain [physically], it's much more an injury to the morale."

Della Vedova, 17, suffered a ruptured right Achilles and sprained left foot on Thursday on floor exercise at INSEP, the national team training center in Paris.

"It was on floor on the takeoff for a tumbling pass that it gave way," Della Vedova said. "I was low and I landed flat on my stomach, also spraining the other foot."

The Troyes native was a member of France's squad that placed 10th at the 2011 Worlds in Tokyo. In January, she helped the French women take third at the second Olympic qualification event in London, earning the squad a berth to the 2012 Olympic Games. She was the all-around bronze medalist at the 2011 French Championships in Toulouse, where she also won the silver medal on floor exercise.

Surgery to repair the ruptured tendon is planned for next week, she told IG, followed by months of rehabilitation. After that, she said she is unsure if she plans to make a comeback to gymnastics.

"I still don't know if I'm going to do it, but it will be hard in my opinion," Della Vedova said.

External Links: French Gymnastics Federation, Official Facebook Fan Page


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