Reiss Beckford to Jamaica

A British-born Jamaican gymnast has been granted permission to represent Jamaica as he aims to become the first-ever gymnast to represent the island at an Olympic Games.

The gymnast, Reiss Beckford, was given the go-ahead as a result of his dual-nationality after applying to the International Gymnastics Federation earlier this year.

A three-time European and Commonwealth Games silver medalist for Team GB, 23-year-old Reiss has always dreamed of competing in the Olympic Games. …


Jamaica Observer


Here’s a terrific interview by Irina Stepantseva with our surprise European Vault Champion. After reading it, I’m suddenly a huge fan.

Maria Paseka

-I really want to go to a second Olympics. I suddenly have this totally crazy dream. One such dream has already come true: I wanted to win some kind of competition, so that I would stand on the podium in first place and they would play the Russian national anthem. It had never happened to me before! And today I stood on the podium and the anthem was playing. And that’s it; the next dream is the Olympics.

-And skip Worlds? That won’t work.

-Of course, I’ll have to win Worlds as well. But the Olympics is the coolest.


Shannon Miller’s new book – a review


St. Martin’s Press sent me a review copy of It’s Not About Perfect: Competing For My Country and Fighting For My Life by Shannon Miller with Danny Peary.

It’s available today – April 21, 2015 – in hard cover, Kindle, audio and MP3 CD.

not about perfect

It’s Shannon’s life story, so far. An autobiography. Inspirational. Ideal for teenage gymnasts and fans of women’s Gymnastics.

Shannon Miller … the winner of a combined total of 16 World Championships and Olympic medals between 1991 and 1996, Miller ranks as the most decorated gymnast, male or female, in U.S. history. …

Rather than dwell on the many successes, one of the greatest in the history of the sport spends more time detailing when things went wrong. And how she reacted to those setbacks.

“Don’t judge me by my successes but rather how many times I fell and got back up again.”


I enjoyed reading of her childhood. The used $100 backyard trampoline. Her first coach, Jerry Clavier. How Gary Goodson failed Shannon on her first USAIGC testing. Her first USAIGC and Karolyi camps. The first time Shannon ever flew on a plane. It was to Russia. At age-9.

Steve Nunno was on that trip, as well. Later Shannon moved from her non-competitive gym to Dynamo. Steve later hired Peggy Liddick.

Steve Nunno was a very controversial coach. Loud, arrogant and egotistical. But I’ve never heard Shannon Miller say a bad word about him. For her he was the ideal coach. This book is filled with stories of her many wonderful experiences with him and Peggy.

As an young gymnast, Shannon had very few injuries. But she did dislocate her elbow after hitting her feet on a flyaway full twist.

Astonishingly, Shannon once had a balking problem on flyaway. And later a balking problem on Tkachev. If it can happen to Shannon Miller, it can happen to anyone.

She competed the 1992 Olympics on a broken foot. Yet hit 16/16. Her goal.

After returning to Oklahoma from the Barcelona Games she enjoyed 3 days off. She’d only expected 1 day rest.

“I never considered myself the most talented or exciting gymnast but I could outwork anybody.”

By the 1996 Atlanta Olympics she had grown six inches, gained thirty pounds. Though still a tiny person, the sport was more difficult.

She looks back on her career as having two peaks: 5 medals at the 1992 Olympics and her success at the next two World Championships.

“The other peak was at the 1996 Olympics, when I won gold medals as part of the team and on balance beam. The two peaks corresponded to the two separate parts of my competitive career, based on my having two distinct body types and there being two different Codes of Points.”

Click PLAY or watch her Beam from the 1994 Worlds AA on YouTube.

One day a long retired Shannon Miller walked into Steve’s office at the Dynamo Gym and asked: “Do you want to train me for the 2000 Olympics?

That third failed Olympic run was perhaps the most interesting of the three for me. She’s proud of the effort. Shannon’s philosophy:

• Set goals.
• Put in the work if you want results.
• Utilize mistakes as a way to learn and grow.
• Eliminate negative thoughts (and, when possible, negative people).
• Search for the positive in the negative.
• Don’t place limits on yourself.
• Accept help from others.
• Never give up and, most of all, believe in yourself.

She only very briefly mentions her failed first marriage in 1999 to Christopher B. Phillips. He was the second man she dated, a medical student at the University of Oklahoma.

Her second husband is John Falconetti. They married August 25, 2008. They have two children.

The Shannon Miller Foundation, dedicated to fighting childhood obesity, launched in 2007.

Shannon Miller Lifestyle: Health and Fitness for Women launched July 4, 2010.

Someone so healthy getting cancer was a shocker for me and everyone who knew Shannon Miller. It was a rare kind of ovarian cyst.

She had surgery in January 2011. In March 2011 began a 9-week regimen of chemotherapy.

In July 2011, her doctor gave a clean bill of health. She was cancer-free.

Like many celebrities over the past few years, Shannon documented her progress fighting cancer online. Her hope is that more people will schedule all their recommended medical treatments.

Bottom line. I recommend this book.


Shannon’s other books

Anna Rose Johnson interview with Shannon on the book: “I hope it’s something that will inspire others”

Ellie Black – PanAms and Olympics

Halifax gymnast Ellie Black is taking a break from school as she trains for this summer’s Pan Am Games in Toronto.

Black, 19, has been a competitive gymnast since she was nine. She was studying kinesiology at Dalhousie University, but is taking this year and next year off to focus on her competitions. …

Black is temporarily stepping away from her kinesiology studies at Dalhousie University

Big thanks to my girl @alyraisman for this beautiful #gkelitealy leo ???? #fierce

A photo posted by Ellie Black (@ellieblack_) on


Here’s a nice feature on Ellie’s club.


Faster, higher, stronger – Halifax’s Alta Gymnastics Club is in the business of building champions

Not pictured is Ellie’s Head coach, Keiji Yamanaka, an old mentor of mine. Keiji and Tak Kikuchi were university teammates in Japan. Both moved to Canada in the early 1970s.

new Shannon Miller book

On instagram.

Mexican Championships Results

1 Elsa Garcia Nuevo Leon 58.000
2 Ana Lago Nuevo Leon 55.350
3 Alexa Moreno Baja California 54.900

4 Karla Retiz Baja California 52.050
5 Amaranta Torres Baja California 51.550
6 Miriana Almeida Sonora 51.450


Elsa and her team are working towards PanAm Games and World Championships. Elsa finished 21st AA at Worlds 2014.


related – Dec 2014 IG Online Interview: Elsa Garcia (Mexico)

Men’s Championships
1. Daniel Corral Baja California 85.300
2. Fabián de Luna Jalisco 84.450
3. Kevin Cerda Sonora 82.700


MacLennan, Cockburn, Burnett, Soehn

The four athletes who will represent Team Canada in trampoline at the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games were named by Gymnastics Canada on Thursday, three of whom have won five Olympic medals.

London 2012 gold medallist in women’s trampoline, Rosie MacLennan, is on the team, as is Karen Cockburn, a three-time Olympic medallist. Cockburn made it to the Olympic podium at Sydney 2000 with a bronze and then won back-to-back silver medals at Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008.

On the men’s side, Beijing 2008 silver medal-winner Jason Burnett, along with Keegan Soehn carry Canada’s trampoline hopes in Toronto. Soehn is the defending Pan Am men’s trampoline champion when from the games in Guadalajara, Mexico in 2011.


An intimidating line-up. Keegan Soehn trains in Alberta. The other 3 legends train in the host city. Trampoline is kind of a big deal in Toronto. :-)