interview – Kohei’s coach Hiro Sato

After winning the 2016 Olympics, Kohei phoned his old teammate Hiroaki Sato who was coaching in Australia.

He convinced Hiro to return to Japan and become his personal coach.

Since he was training alone, Kohei was looking for someone to help and motivate, but not be too pushy. In fact, Hiro began training and conditioning alongside Kohei.

Kohei, who turns age-31 in January, currently trains 9 times a week over 5 days. Has two BIG conditioning days at the beginning and end of the week.

Though the G.O.A.T. has said he’s not sure he can qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, Hiro is planning on it. The goal and timeline for achieving that goal laid out.

Dave Tilley posted the lengthy interview which I found very interesting. Hiro is a young coach, keen and very open-minded to advice which he could take to Uchimura for consideration. For example, recovery between Floor and Pommels during competition.

Hiro’s mentors include Scherbo’s coach Sergei Chinkar, now retired. And the late, great Takashi Kobayashi who died in 2018 — far too young — of stomach cancer.

Listen now

Bea Gheorghisor on Romanian Gymnastics

Romania finished 22nd as a team at Worlds 2019. It would seem they are just another team, no longer a superpower.

But the next generation of Juniors is looking good. And here’s some other promising news.

Bea:

I think that Romania will qualify a team to Paris and even win at least an individual medal there.

The project called Tara, Tara, Vrem Campioane [“Country, country, we want champions”] was initiated in 2014 and is being coordinated by Bellu and Bitang.

This is Romania’s response to a half-centralized system (camp based) that has worked for other countries.

The idea is to de-centralize in order to encourage healthy competition among [the various] centers and also stimulate the development of gymnasts and coaches. …

In order for this to work long-term, we need some key elements that are still missing: realistic judging in internal/national competitions, more and better prepared coaches, finding a way to transition junior elites into successful seniors, a way to motivate gymnasts without physical and mental abuse.

Read the full Dvora Meyers interview:

The Fall (and Rise?) of Romanian Gymnastics

One big question remains – Can the next generation of Romanians be competitive on Bars?

They are now wearing grips. But — oddly — still rely on Free Hip when the rest of the world uses primarily Sole Circle. Watch Ana Maria Barbosu competing Bars.

Mark Williams interview

Dave Tilley posted a good interview with the legendary Oklahoma coach following Worlds.

  • 2019 World Championships, and how he felt Team USA did
  • The new leadership at USA Gymnastics, and his interactions with Li Li Leung
  • Mark’s thoughts on the year coming leading up to the 2020 Olympics
  • What he thinks coaches and gymnasts need to be successful during meet season
  • How he thinks about recruiting and running practices
  • His best advice for young coaches and gymnasts just getting started

I came away happy to hear the Worlds coaches are being consulted on the next USAG hire for the Men’s program. Mark is optimistic about Li Li, so far.

Mark felt the U.S. Worlds team did a great job overall. The only unhappy surprise was their poor performance in the qualifying round.

I was amused to hear that Mark’s toughest coaching challenge all-time was … preschoolers. 😀

Click through for links to the podcast.

2017

USAG team selection transparency

Good job.

As with their Men’s team, USAG circulated minutes of the 2019 World Championships Athlete Selection Committee Meeting from September 23, 2019.

I wish, Canada, by comparison, did the same thing. Every nation should do so.

That said, many — including Spencer — are questioning the logic of leaving behind one of their highest Bars scores — Morgan Hurd.

With Riley out, USA is least deep on Bars.