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Written by John Crumlish    Tuesday, 13 March 2012 23:13    PDF Print
Hopfner-Hibbs to 2012 Olympians: 'Enjoy Every Moment'
(10 votes, average 4.40 out of 5)

2008 Canadian Olympian and UCLA senior Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs told IG she treasures her accomplishment in both phases of her career, and has confidence in Canada's 2012 Olympic team. Pictured: Hopfner-Hibbs with former coach Carol-Angela Orchard (left) and mother Dianne Hopfner on Sunday at UCLA

2008 Canadian Olympian and UCLA senior Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs told IG she treasures her accomplishment in both phases of her career, and has confidence in former training partner Christine (Peng-Peng) Lee and other potential members of Canada's 2012 Olympic team.

"There have been so many amazing highlights," said Hopfner-Hibbs after UCLA's final home meet of the 2011-12 season, against the University of Oklahoma, at the John Wooden Center on Sunday.

Hopfner-Hibbs on bars for UCLA

"Winning a medal at (the 2006) Worlds was really fun, and I'm so glad I got to share that with my coach (Sport Seneca's Carol-Angela Orchard)," she said. "Here, when we won the 2010 NCAAs, it was amazing. We didn't even know yet that we had won, and we were freaking out like we'd won. Since I've come here, I've gotten to experience so many amazing things. There's no better experience, and I've just loved every minute of it."

Prior to enrolling at UCLA, Hopfner-Hibbs made Canadian gymnastics history at the 2006 World Championships in Aarhus, Denmark, where she won the bronze medal on balance beam. The medal was a first for a Canadian woman in world championship history. She finished 16th all-around at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

Hopfner-Hibbs said she plans to finish her degree in psychobiology next year, serving as an undergraduate assistant coach at UCLA. Beyond 2013, she is leaving her options open.

"I haven't thought that far ahead," said Hopfner-Hibbs, whose mother, Dianne Hopfner, traveled to Toronto to attend Sunday's meet. "I'm taking it one day at a time and see where it takes me."

Orchard, who traveled from England to attend the meet, said Hopfner-Hibbs' evolution over the past four years is gratifying.

"I think this is a perfect transition from her elite career," said Orchard, who also coached 1992 Guatemalan Olympian Luisa Portocarrero and 2000 Canadian Olympian Michelle Conway at Sport Seneca before they competed for UCLA. "(UCLA head coach) Val (Kondos) and I are so similar that it was quite effortless to go from Sport Seneca to UCLA. I trust Val so much. All of our top athletes from Sport Seneca have gone to Val, and I think Elyse has blossomed. The team atmosphere is phenomenal here, and Elyse thrives on that."

Orchard said she is especially impressed by Hopfner-Hibbs' expressive qualities that have developed during the past four years.

"When you watch the way Elyse dances now, she's become a young woman," Orchard said. "She's so comfortable with herself. Between Val's choreography and Elyse's growth as a person, when you put those two things together, I absolutely love her floor routine. I like it when gymnasts perform and really feel what they do, and you can see she does that. Elyse absolutely feels what she's doing, and that's a really special quality."

Hopfner-Hibbs said she is happy for former Sport Seneca teammate Lee, who placed first all-around at the Gymnix International in Montreal this weekend. Lee left Sport Seneca after Orchard left Canada to work in England, and now trains at Oakville Gymnastics in Ontario.

At the Olympic test event in London in January, Lee led Canada's successful effort to earn a team berth for this summer's London Olympics. She will compete for UCLA next season.

"Peng has always been one of the most talented gymnasts I've ever known, so we all knew she had the talent, and it was just about whether she was willing enough to get there," Hopfner-Hibbs said. "She's worked so hard to get to where she is now, and she's definitely ready to go. I think she's doing really well and she's right on track to accomplish her Olympic goals, so I'm really excited for her."

Hopfner-Hibbs said she hopes Canada's 2012 Olympians will savor their experience in London, as she did in Beijing four years ago.

"I think they just have to enjoy it," she said. "Seriously, it's gone in a second, so just to be able to go there and have fun and enjoy every moment of it is really important."

Hopfner-Hibbs also encouraged the Canadian Olympians to stay focused and self-confident.

"It's hard, because everywhere you look, there are Olympic rings - on the mat, on the beam..." she told IG. "But you just have to stay in the moment. If I could go back and do it again now, I feel I would do so much better, because the college experience is about learning how to stay in the moment and not get overwhelmed with everything going on around you."

International Gymnast Magazine related features:
"All in a Day's Work" – Hopfner-Hibbs profile (March 2008)
"Quick Chat: Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs (December 2008)
"10 Questions with Carol-Angela Orchard" (June 2011)
"Canada Can" – Canadian team feature including Orchard (January 2001)
Christine Lee interview (April 2011)
"A Passion for Performing" – Lee profile (June 2006)
"All in a Day's Work" – Hopfner-Hibbs profile

To subscribe to IG Magazine or order back issues, click here.

Written by Amanda Turner    Monday, 12 March 2012 08:46    PDF Print
Wieber, Douglas Headline Pacific Rim Lineup
(15 votes, average 3.67 out of 5)

Fresh off their performances at the recent American Cup, world championship gold medalists Jordyn Wieber and Gabrielle Douglas will lead the U.S. women's squad at this weekend's Pacific Rim competition in Everett, Wash.

Held every two years, the competition features senior and junior gymnasts from nations bordering the Pacific, including Australia, Canada, China, Japan and Russia.

USA Gymnastics announced its women's lineup Monday morning, following a training camp in Houston. Wieber, the 2011 world all-around champion, won her third American Cup title on March 3 in New York City. Douglas, who was competing exhibition, outscored Wieber but her results did not count toward the results.

The U.S. lineup also includes first-year senior Kyla Ross, junior national champion and Seattle native Katelyn Ohashi, Japan Junior International champion Lexie Priessman and Cincinnati clubmate Amelia Hundley.

The U.S. women are expected to dominate the competition. With the exception of world team member Tan Sixin, reigning Olympic champion China sent a squad of newcomers. 2010 world champion Russia — preparing for its national championships March 21-25 — did not send any Olympic contenders.

Olympic qualifiers Australia and Canada, however, are sending top teams. 2010 world floor exercise champion Lauren Mitchell leads Australia, while Christine Lee, Victoria Moors and Kristina Vaculik represent Canada.

The U.S. men are represented by world team members Chris Brooks and Jake Dalton and Olympic contender Sam Mikulak. Their strongest challenge will come from Japan, which is sending 2008 Olympian Takuya Nakase along with Koji Uematsu and Tatsuki Nakashima. Uematsu, a finalist on parallel bars and high bar at the 2010 Worlds, is returning from a torn ACL suffered in April 2011.

Check back with International Gymnast Magazine Online for daily blogs and updates from Everett.

External Link: USA Gymnastics

2012 Pacific Rim Gymnastics Championships
March 16-18, Everett, Wash., USA

Women's Competitors
Emily Little Senior
Lauren Mitchell Senior
Georgia Simpson Senior
Jazminne Casis Junior
Alexandra Eade Junior
Madelaine Leydin Junior
Christine Lee Senior
Victoria Moors Senior
Kristina Vaculik Senior
Maegan Chant Junior
Victoria Kayen-Woo Junior
Jordyn Pedersen Junior
Shang Chunsong Senior
Luo Peiru Senior
Tan Sixin Senior
Lou Nina Junior
Mei Jie Junior
Wang Wei Junior
Jessica Gil Senior
Karina Regidor Senior
Angela Arce Junior
Hiu Ying Angel Wong Senior
Ka Man Leung Senior
Nim Yan Choi Senior
Yuri Ishii Senior
Risa Konishi Senior
Wakiko Ryu Senior
Yuki Uchiyama Junior
Sakura Yumoto Junior
Sandra Garcia Senior
Karla Martinez Senior
Shaden Cortes Junior
Andrea Mora Junior
Federica Scheiman Junior
Hanna Malloch Junior
Courtney McGregor Junior
Rebecca Morrison Junior
Brittany Robertson Junior
Charlotte Sullivan Junior
Millie Williamson Junior
Valentina Brostella Junior
Ana De Leon Junior
Anastasia Marchuk Senior
Kristina Sidorova Senior
Diana Yelkina Senior
Yekaterina Baturina Junior
Anastasia Belova Junior
Maria Kharenkova Junior
Yu-Chun Chen Senior
Chia-Jung Tsai Senior
Wan-Yin Chen Junior
Yu-Chun Lai Junior
Gabrielle Douglas Senior
Kyla Ross Senior
Jordyn Wieber Senior
Amelia Hundley Junior
Katelyn Ohashi Junior
Lexie Priessman Junior
Men's Competitors
Joshua Jefferis Senior
Samuel Offord Senior
Thomas Pichler Senior
Brody-Jai Hennessy Junior
Kent Pieterse Junior
Lachlan Savill Junior
Anderson Loran Senior
Scott Morgan Senior
Robert Watson Senior
Zachary Clay Junior
Cory Paterson Junior
Joshua Stuart Junior
Cheng Ran Senior
Liu Rongbing Senior
Wang Peng Senior
Wu Guanhua Junior
Xu Kangye Junior
Xiao Ruoteng Junior
Jorge Giraldo Senior
Tarik Soto Junior
Kiu Chung Ng Senior
Wai Hung Shek Senior
Kam Wah Liu Senior
Chun Kit Poon Junior
Tzn Tak Seto Junior
Takuya Nakase Senior
Tatsuki Nakashima Senior
Koji Uematsu Senior
Kaito Imabayashi Junior
Koji Nonomura Junior
Kenzo Seryu Junior
Rodolfo Bonilla Senior
Axel Elias Senior
Santos Martinez Senior
Sergio Borquez Junior
Rodolfo Gomez Junior
Andres Resendiz Junior
Misha Koudinov Senior
Reegan Edwards Junior
Leo Golder Junior
Jean Nathan Monteclaro Senior
Mikhail Bodnar Senior
Daniil Kazachkov Senior
Pavel Pavlov Senior
Nikolai Kovinov Junior
Sergei Stepanov Junior
Grigory Zyryanov Junior
Bobby Kriangkum Senior
Szu-Chieh Chen Senior
I-Hsiang Chen Senior
Sheng-Meng Huang Senior
Yu-Chin Chao Junior
Jia-En Lin Junior
Fu-Li Liu Junior
Chris Brooks Senior
Jake Dalton Senior
Sam Mikulak Senior
Marvin Kimble Junior
Sean Melton Junior
Akash Modi Junior
Written by John Crumlish    Saturday, 10 March 2012 22:30    PDF Print
Pre-Olympic Experience Motivates Adlerteg
(9 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

Jonna Adlerteg of Sweden told IG this weekend that her preparation for this summer's Olympic Games has benefited from her participation in the Olympic test event in London in January and a recent training camp with Dutch gymnasts.

Jonna Adlerteg (Sweden)

"I think it's a very good experience and that it will help me in my preparations for the Olympics," said Adlerteg of her performance at the test event in London's O2 Arena, which will host the Olympic artistic gymnastics competition. "It's nice to know what the competition hall is going to look like."

Adlerteg, who earned her berth to the London Olympics based on her performance at the test event, said she also enjoyed last week's training camp with Dutch gymnasts Wyomi Masela, Lieke Wevers and Melissa Scherpenisse at her club, Eskilstuna Gymnastics Academy. Also participating were Estkilstuna teammates Ida Gustafsson, Kim Singmuang, Lovisa Estberg, Emma Larsson, Ellen Haavisto and Emmy Haavisto.

"I found out that the Dutch girls are really nice and that they train hard," said Adlerteg, who is coached by Helena Andersson and Sebastian Melander. "I think they feel the same way."

Between now and London, Adlerteg's plans include upgrading her routines and competing at the 2012 European Championships, which take place in May in Brussels.

"I'm going to try to improve on every apparatus, especially on floor and beam," Adlerteg told IG. "The European Championships aren't my primary goal this year, but, of course, I want to do my best."

Read "Swedish History-maker," a profile on Jonna Adlerteg, in the November 2010 issue of International Gymnast magazine. To order back issues, click here.

Written by Amanda Turner    Friday, 09 March 2012 23:39    PDF Print
IGHOF to Honor Four Gymnastics Legends
(7 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

The International Gymnastics Hall of Fame will celebrate the careers of four gymnastics legends this May in Oklahoma City: Vera Caslavska (Czech Republic), Zoltan Magyar (Hungary), Natalia Shaposhnikova (Russia) and Kim Zmeskal (USA).

Czech legend Vera Caslavska

The class of 2012 — having won a combined 19 Olympic and 21 world championships medals — will be feted May 19 at the Petroleum Club in Oklahoma City.

"We are thrilled with the selection of the Class of 2012, and we are especially excited to finally celebrate the induction of Vera Caslavska, who was not able to be with us when she was originally inducted in 1998," said world and Olympic champion Bart Conner, president of the IGHOF Board.

Representing Czechoslovakia, the legendary Caslavska won 11 Olympic medals, including seven gold, at the 1964 and 1968 Olympics. She won 10 world championship medals, including the all-around gold at the 1966 Worlds in Dortmund, where she led her team to victory over the dominant Soviet squad. She was the first gymnast to score a perfect 10 in major international competition, earning the ultimate mark at the 1967 European Championships on balance beam and floor exercise. Caslavska's protest against Soviet rule in her homeland, however, led to forced retirement after the 1968 Olympics, and she was declared persona non grata. Her reputation was restored after the fall of communism, and she has since served as president of the Czech Olympic Committee.

Magyar was a master of the pommel horse, winning back-to-back titles at the 1976 and 1980 Olympics. He also won three titles each at the world championships (1974, 1978, 1979) and European championships (1973, 1975, 1977). He has two eponymous moves: the Magyar spindle and the Magyar travel. Magyar is now a veterinarian in his native Budapest.

Representing the Soviet Union, Shaposhnikova won four medals at the 1980 Olympics in Moscow — golds with the team and on vault and bronzes on balance beam and floor exercise. She won three world medals, including a gold with her team at the 1978 Worlds in Strasbourg. Her artistry and originality were notable even in that unique era, and the difficult uneven bars transition she invented remains one of the popular moves among today's gymnasts. She married fellow Soviet team member Pavel Sut — a gold medalist at the 1981 Worlds — and together they own their own club, Gymnastika, in New Jersey.

Zmeskal is the first American gymnast to win a world all-around title, a feat she accomplished at the 1991 Worlds in Indianapolis. She continued her golden streak the following year with gold medals on balance beam and floor exercise at the world championships in Paris. At the 1992 Olympics she helped the U.S. win a team bronze, its first Olympic team medal in eight years. Today Zmeskal is an international judge and one of the top coaches in the U.S., guiding gymnasts at her Texas Dreams club alongside her husband, Chris Burdette.

In addition to the athletes being honored, Doug Wilson will be awarded the first Frank Bare Award for his significant contributions to popularizing gymnastics as an Emmy award-winning TV producer for ABC's Wide World of Sports.

Over the past fifteen years, 76 of gymnastics greatest stars and contributors, representing 20 countries, have been formally inducted into the Hall of Fame.

The International Gymnastics Hall of Fame seeks to preserve, promote and share the achievements of the sport's greatest legends, with the IGHOF exhibit at the Science Museum Oklahoma in the Adventure District in Oklahoma City. Visitors can view the Wall of Fame - portraits of all inductees, and other sculptures, pictures, paintings and videos. Children can also try out some gymnastics training equipment at the exhibit.

For more information about the IGHOF and how you can be a member or donor, visit

For tickets to the IGHOF ceremony, contact Lynn Landis at Paul Ziert and Associates at 405-364-5344.

Written by John Crumlish    Tuesday, 06 March 2012 21:52    PDF Print
Taranu Aims to be 'Essential' for Germany
(14 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

World championship medalist Thomas Taranu told IG this week he intends to fortify the German team at this summer's Olympic Games in London.

A team medalist at the 2004 European Junior Championships and 2010 World Championships, German gymnast Thomas Taranu told IG this week he intends to fortify the German team at this summer's Olympic Games in London.

"Especially on rings and vault, the German team needs excellent and strong athletes," said Taranu, a member of Germany's bronze medal-winning team at the 2010 Worlds in Rotterdam and its sixth-place team at the 2011 Worlds in Tokyo. "I try to prepare my exercises as well as possible. My goal is to become an essential part of the German team."

The 24-year-old Taranu said he is confident he can earn a spot on the five-man team for London, despite all-around depth provided by Philip Boy, the 2010 and 2011 world all-around silver medalist; Fabian Hambüchen, a two-time Olympian and the 2007 world all-around bronze medalist; and Marcel Nguyen, who placed eighth all-around at the 2011 Worlds. All four gymnasts were born from July through October 1987.

"I am planning to be convincing on my best apparatuses, rings and vault, and gain important points for the German team result," said Taranu, who is coached by Alexei Grigoriev at the KTV Straubenhardt club, which is the current German team champion. "With my other apparatuses, I will try to convince our head coach with a consistently good performance."

Also expected to challenge for spots on the team are Eugen Spiridonov, who placed 10th all-around at the 2005 Worlds in Melbourne and 17th all-around at the 2010 Worlds; and Sebastian Krimmer, whose clutch performance on pommel horse clinched the team bronze for Germany at the 2010 Worlds.

"Generally my exercises are complete, but in the next few months I will work hard on the quality of the execution," said Taranu, who won three apparatus medals at the 2011 German championships. "There are good chances for a higher score if the execution is accurate."

Despite Germany's sixth-place performance in the team finals at last year's worlds, Taranu said his team will be a medal contender in London.

"I believe China, Japan, Russia, the U.S. and Germany have the best chance to fight for the team medals," he said. "These teams are really strong, and I am sure that the teams with the fewest mistakes will win the medals, whereas China and Japan are the favorite teams for gold and silver."

Taranu also has family ties to Romania, which placed eighth at the 2011 Worlds after one of its gymnasts scored zero on vault.

"My mother is German and my father is Romanian," said Taranu, who was born in Niefern. "They met each other on vacation in Romania. But I grew up in Germany and don't even speak Romanian."

In addition to steadiness, Taranu said teamwork will be essential to German success in London.

"I believe the team mentality has to be really good in London," he told IG. "If we get along with one another and have a strong mentality, we can accomplish our goals. The team spirit has to be good."

International Gymnast magazine related features:
2011 World Championships special issue (December 2011)
"Fast Mender" – short Nguyen profile (June 2011)
Boy interview, 2011 European Championships coverage (May 2011)
"Clutch Horse Ride" – Krimmer profile (January 2011)
2010 World Championships special issue (December 2010)
Hambüchen cover story (November 2007)
2007 World Championships special issue (October 2007)
Hambüchen on cover, 2007 European Championships coverage (June 2007)
Hambüchen center poster (April 2007)
"German Giants" - Hambüchen/Waldemar Eichorn profile (May 2003)

To order back issues, click here.


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