the life of an Olympic Champion

… “I get up, I’m weighed, I have breakfast, and I go to school from 8.00am to 10.15am. Then we train, eat, sleep, train and get treatment [massage and physical therapy] if we need it. Then we sleep. …


Triple Full translated an excellent interview with Olympic Floor Champion Sandra Izbasa.

She’s one of them most fascinating stars in our sport. AND she plans to keep training through to 2012.

Russia: Ostapenko, Alexandrov new coaches

Triple Full has a detailed post on the shake up in Russia.

It seems that Ukrainian coach Oleg Ostapenko, fresh from a long stint coaching the Brazilian girls, is not to work with the Ukrainian girls after all. Gazeta reports that Ostapenko … has been appointed senior coach of the Russian junior team. …

… At the recent conference of the Russian Artistic Gymnastics Federation (FGSR), Alexander Alexandrov was assigned the post of senior coach for the Russian national women’s artistic gymnastics team. …


Rodionenko, we assume, will be the team supervisor, rather than a coach actually working with the girls.

Ostapenko to Take On Russian Juniors; Alexandrov Confirmed As Senior Coach of Senior Team


Russia must be seriously disappointed with results over the last quadrennial.

Happily it looks like Rodionenko will stay on.

Commentary – The C Score – Really weird: Ostapenko to Russia

new Gymnastics Australia website

Hannah tipped us to the very pretty new site Down Under.


It’s got a lot of AJAX, which translates to speedier online experience. I like the prominent Club Search feature, even better than the USA Gymnastics version.

Cheer is HUGE in Australia, hence the big button taking you to Aus Cheer. Cheerleading and Gymnastics there both managed by Gymnastics Australia, unlike North America where cheer is mainly private enterprise.

They’ve embedded YouTube videos on the site, for example on the MAG page.

The GymShop is pretty basic. I’m surprised they don’t link to a third party site that knows how to sell product. National Associations are notoriously bad at retail.

But all-in-all, I think it’s the best National Gymnastics website in the world. (Leave a comment if you know of one that is better.)

Gymnastics Australia

… My biggest complaint, as usual, is that it does not have any RSS feed that I can find. So I won’t be visiting very frequently.

introducing Reverse Hecht

Tkachev is not nearly as difficult a skill as most gymnasts believe.

In the end, the most common problem is insufficient counter rotation.

A good strategy is to spend a lot of time at the beginning working that “action”.

Gymnast posted several drills.

Click PLAY or watch it on Gymnast.×240&apv=doubleclick

Click PLAY or watch it on Gymnast.×240&apv=doubleclick

This next drill should not be done into the foam pit as shown. A strong landing mat atop the foam cubes would be much safer.

Click PLAY or watch it on Gymnast.×240&apv=doubleclick

There are more free Tkachev videos on Gymnast’s Training Tips page.

Subscribe to hundreds more (not-free) gymnastics training videos at

Olympic Floor Champion 5’5″

The single best thing about Romanian gymnastics in 2008 is this “tall” girl.


Romania’s Sandra Izbasa won the gold, United States’ Shawn Johnson the silver and United States’ Nastia Liukin the bronze. AFP PHOTO / LLUIS GENE OLY-2008-GYMNASTICS-FINAL-PODIUM-ROU-USA ~ larger original

She makes Nastia look short!

Sandra IzbaÅŸa is not a typical Romanian gymnast. Tall (1.64m – 5’5”), blond, expressive, and with an impressive beauty, the leader of the women’s team always has a smile on her face. Serious and focused before every routine, she relaxes afterward, posing for the judges and the crowd. …

Triple Full – Sandra Izbasa Reviews 2008

She provides inspiration for taller gymnasts everywhere.

Truly one of the best personalities in the sport today, too.

… She says that her goal for 2009 is to win gold on floor in London at the 2009 World Championships. Of that, she says, “It will be hard, but not impossible.” …

The C Score – Nice Izbasa profile in Pro Sport

best gymnastics climbing ropes?

Shopping to replace some of our ropes, I’m looking for advice.

Some options:

A – Manila Ropes

B – Polypro “Unmanila” Ropes (more expensive)

C – “Polyplus” Ropes (most expensive)


United Athletic

Leave a comment if you have recommendations on what company to buy from. And what ropes work best for kids in gymnastics.

related post: teaching safe rope climb to beginners

Institute of Sports Psychology

The Institute of Sports Psychology offers a number of different services for coaches and athletes.

Founder Robert Andrews worked with Sean Townsend, Raj Bhavsar and other gymnasts.

Click PLAY to watch a short TV interview on YouTube.

Robert contributes to, recently posting an article on mental preparation for competition.

… External pressure comes from outside sources like coaches, parents, and specific situations in competition. Internal pressure is self induced pressure that is the by product of negative thoughts and self talk, perfectionist attitudes, and self induced stress.

Pressure itself is not a bad thing. It is a necessary ingredient to achieve peak levels of performance.

Too little pressure and you are not mentally or physically ready to perform. Too much pressure and your mind creates negative and stressful thoughts. Your body tightens up and performance is hindered.

Every athlete has an optimum level of pressure that helps them reach their peak in performance. … – Handling Performance Pressure

related: Dr. Alison Arnold videos on Gymnastike. Alison is one of the main consultants for Gymnastics USA. Her website is Head Games.

the rise of Oakville Gymnastics

The most interesting story on the recent Elite Canada competition is one club – Oakville Gymnastics in Ontario.

They have a terrific coaching staff. Depth. (They are the third largest club in Canada.) And athletes well positioned to make this one of the most important gyms in the nation, especially after the closing of Seneca earlier this year.

Sabrina Gill – Canadian Novice Elite Canada Champion 2008


In fact, Oakville girls finished 1st, 4th, 14th, 16th and 19th in the youngest division, girls born 1996. Just old enough to qualify for the 2012 Olympics.

Oakville does not rush kids in competition. They take the long term vision.

I have a lot of confidence these girls can stay healthy and motivated through to the next Olympics.

Here’s some training footage filmed by Head Coach Kelly Manjak, posted on Sabrina’s account.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

related posts:

  • Kelly Manjak – conditioning and bars
  • Kelly Manjak – gymnastics bars training
  • Sabrina Gill – gymnastics video
  • new funding for English Gymnastics

    The one time governments are keen to cough up additional funding for sport is when they are about to host the Olympics.

    Here’s another US$17 million+ …


    Sport England have announced an investment of £480 million to deliver grassroots sporting opportunities and a lasting Olympic legacy of one million people playing more sport.

    For English Gymnastics an increased allocation of £11.388M; Mark Gannon, English Gymnastics Chief Executive Officer said,

    “English Gymnastics is extremely pleased with the increased support given by Sport England. This support will ensure we are able to achieve the key aims within our Whole Sport Plan to grow the number of new participants in our sport, sustain those already involved and increase the talent pool that underpins the British Gymnastics programme that leads to the world stage.”

    46 sports, including all 2012 Olympic and Paralympic sports, have been awarded funding on the basis of their ability to increase the number of people playing and enjoying sport, and to create development pathways for those with talent.

    British Gymnastics – English Gymnastics delighted with Sport England funding