USAG blunders this weekend

Where to start? 

For an organization that already has little trust with membership, communication could not have been much worse at the (otherwise excellent) Men’s Winter Cup in Las Vegas.

Now Tuesday morning and I’m still not 100% sure what happened.

It seems the USA MPC had not documented their World Cup selection system in advance of Winter Cup.

Why, you might ask.

Yet USAG had to earlier put forward nominative entrees for the 4 AA World Cups either Sam or Yul were assigned to all four.

Not many — including Yul’s Mom — knew they were only nominative.

Now — after the Winter Cup — MPC is considering replacing Yul for some of his nominative assignments.

It’s a mess. More self-inflicted wounds for USA Gymnastics.

Click over to Gymnastics-Now for an update through Tuesday, February 25th.

whither Gymnastics in Brazil

Renata Cappeliano translated an article by Demetrio Vecchioli looking at the BIG picture.

At the start of the quad, Brazil looked like they could potentially challenge for a team medal. They competed in the team final at the Rio Olympics. They lost Aleksandr Aleksandrov but gained Valeri Liukin. …

… despite offering first world infrastructure to its best generation ever, it’s not hard to guess what it lacks nowadays: high performance coaches. With only a few working in the country, Brazil suffers to produce enough athletes to feed its national team. …

Only two coaches, out of the six that shaped Brazil’s elite girls, are still in the country: Ukrainian Irina Ilyashenko, who’s been living in Curitiba for 20 years, and Francisco Porath

“Everyone knew Brazil only had six gymnasts. If two of them got hurt, we’d have nowhere to run. And that’s exactly what happened …”


Flavia Saraiva, Jan 16th, 2015

Flávia finished 10th AA at Worlds 2019 and has already qualified to Tokyo as an individual.

Jason Woodnick to USAG MAG

Good hire.

We are going to miss Jason at Gymnastics Canada.

USA Gymnastics has hired Jason Woodnick to serve as the vice president for men’s gymnastics, effective Feb. 1, 2020. Woodnick, who hails from Germantown, Md, will be responsible for overseeing the USA Gymnastics men’s gymnastics program, from grassroots to the national teams. …

Woodnick most recently was the men’s gymnastics program manager for Gymnastics Canada, a position he has held since 2017. …

Woodnick was a coach with the Canadian Team at the 2016 Pacific Rim Championships, 2013-15 World Championships, 2015 Pan American Games and 2014 Commonwealth Games. He also was Canada’s men’s team manager at the 2017-19 World Championships and 2019 Pan Am Games. …

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.


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.