coaching McKayla Maroney

Great interview — Marina Mazor with Artur Akopyan the morning after Olympic Trials:

After her injury, how concerned were you about her coming back and making the Olympic team?

That was a sad time for me. I thought it was very serious, the head injury. And nobody knew what was going to happen. But I trusted and knew she was strong mentally and has a brave heart. I talked to her parents and they convinced me. Even her father said, “the Maroneys are hard headed. She will come back. She will do it.”

What is is about McKayla that makes her a special athlete?

First of all, she has a very good heart. She has a beautiful personality. … She’s working hard. I will never have to raise my voice with her. She’s a very strong and intelligent girl. But at the same time, she’s girly and soft. And lady-like.

When you look at her, you assume that she wouldn’t be strong in the leg events as she has a very slight build. How does she excel on the leg events?

She’s actually a very powerful gymnast. She is has like a gift from God in the power, the quickness. And she is a true athlete. Just a gift from God. Not many people have those things.

What’s your funniest memory working with her?

I don’t know. I would say, we don’t have a funny time because she’s very serious with what she does in the gym. I can not joke with her. I can say something funny and she will smile and walk away and then back to serious and about her training.

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Artur says she could compete Yurchenko triple twist.

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