USA Women’s Sr Gymnastics Preliminaries

Overall, there were a surprising number of errors made by the fantastic 18 gymnast who qualified to Sr. Championships.

Shawn Johnson was not to be denied, however. She’s a house on fire. Wow.

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full RESULTS for Sr. Women’s Preliminaries – USA Gymnastics

Only the top two after Saturday’s competition (combined scores) immediately qualify for the Worlds team. Congratulations to Shawn and Ivana and their coaches. Fantastic competition!

No doubt the media will focus on the errors made by Nastia. Actually, she looked very good. The fall on Vault was a complete fluke. Despite a fall on Bars dismount she still won the apparatus. (It may have been the best routine in history on the apparatus up to that point. The fall on Floor was not a surprise to me, however.)

I’m optimistic she can eliminate those errors and be better than ever before at Worlds in a couple of weeks.

Bridget Sloan looked fantastic. Technical and artistic. I’ve already raved about Shayla Worley.

I’d add Alica Sacramone to the World’s team for her maturity, personality and leadership. (Not to mention Vault.)

But there’s a long way to go before final team selection is made. No doubt some of the veterans will move up the list after day 2.

Good luck to all the athletes.

USA Men’s Sr Gymnastics Preliminaries

The big story at Championships 2007 was the return of Paul and Morgan Hamm.

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Morgan, in particular, looked good. But both had problems on the two events they competed.

Here’s the first news story on the web after the meet:

Hamms show flashes of old selves
By NANCY ARMOUR

SAN JOSE, Calif. —
Paul and Morgan Hamm aren’t yet the gymnasts they were the last time they were on the floor.

Then again, the U.S. men aren’t what they were in 2004, either.

Competing for the first time since the Athens Olympics, the Hamms showed why they were among the best in the world. But it was clear they are still working their way back into competitive form.

“First one’s out of the way,” Paul said afterward.

Paul, the Olympic champion, scored a 15.7 on floor that was not only best in the event, but among the highest of the competition. Morgan was solid on floor until he under-rotated his final tumbling pass, needing to take a few steps to steady himself. Even with the error, he scored a 14.950 that put him in eighth place.

Both got hung up on the pommel horse, and neither cracked 14.0, which is not a world-level score under the new scoring system.

At least they have an excuse. The rest of the men at the U.S. gymnastics championships have been working for three years, and had very little to show for it that will scare China, Japan or Romania.

David Durante had a few nice routines, Kevin Tan was spectacular on the still rings and Sasha Artemev looks good even when he’s faltering. Durante and Artemev were tied for the lead going into Friday night’s final competition. Other than that, though, there were too many spills and splats from guys who are expected to be leading the way.

Which explains why everyone was so eager for the Hamms to come back. …

Sun Herald

The Hamms will not be competing at Worlds in 3 weeks. USA will need to finish in the top 12 nations without the Hamm experience and reputation.

But I’m a little more optimistic than most in San Jose. I expect the US to qualify for Beijing as a team without much problem. They simply need to put together a team based on who can hit routines CONSISTENTLY.

The Sr Men have actually improved since Championships last year.

To the contenders listed above, I’d add these names to those who could count at Worlds 2007 for the USA: Jonathan Horton, Sho Nakamuri, Guillermo Alverez, Yewki Tomita and even young Steven Legendre (WOGA). I list those who could score on a minimum of 3 apparatus.

There are other specialists, of course. But I doubt the US can afford to name anyone unable to do a minimum of 3 strong events.

full RESULTS of the Men’s Jr and Sr Preliminaries (UPDATED link)

NEW coaching newsletter – GymPress

I’ve just subscribed to an excellent new gymnastics newsletter published by coach Valentin Uzunov from Wellington, New Zealand.

Check out a sample issue posted in .PDF format linked from this page: GymPress Newsletter July 2007.

The two major articles cover CONDITIONING and VAULT TRAINING. It will appeal most to the high level competitive coach.

If you like GymPress, subscribe to have it sent to you by email in future.

It’s FREE.

Thanks Valentin. It’s obvious to me you have studied the most recent videos and gymnastics literature. Good luck with GymPress!

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sample screenshot from the July 2007 issue – Dragalescu on Vault

media focus on injury in gymnastics

My second day at USA Championships the local paper San Jose Mercury News has a focus on injury.

Headline:

THIS MIGHT HURT A BIT
Gymnastics is examining the aches, pains of its athletes

The article is well written (Elliott Almond) though every coach would take exception to some of the statements made.

UPDATE: Read the original article: Gymnastics examines its aches, pains

On the plus side, the new Code of Points needs as much media scrutiny as possible.

What medical consequences are we seeing under the new FIG rules?

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gymnast Shayla Worley looks great at Championships

I got the chance to see some of the closed podium training for FIG women at USA Championships Monday night.

First off, I should say it is an honour to be able to watch the American girls. They have so much depth! It’s staggering.

Congratulations to USA Gymnastics and all the coaches who were able to bring athletes up to this level of competitiveness.

I was happy to see Nastia Liukin looking healthy and stronger than a year ago.

Of course Shawn Johnson remains the favourite. She has an unusual body type (super muscular) and atypical technique on many skills. But what a dynamo!

Here’s a typical news story leading up to the meet:

Johnson, Liukin favorites for worlds team
By Robert Falkoff / WCSN.com

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One way or the other, the United States women’s gymnastics team figures to head for the world championships in Stuttgart, Germany, with a “super seven” type of roster.

The question is whether that roster will represent more of the old or more of the new. With a deep pipeline of talent, Team USA officials will be watching with keen interest this week at the Visa Championships in San Jose as its established members try to fend off the next wave of ambitious competitors for those coveted seven spots on the world team that travels to Germany.

“It’ll be very interesting to see the competition between the two generations of gymnasts,” said Martha Karolyi, the women’s national team coordinator.

Among those who have already made a mark on the world stage are Nastia Liukin, Jana Bieger, Natasha Kelley, Chellsie Memmel and Alicia Sacramone. But 15-year-old Shawn Johnson has quickly burst into prominence as the leader of the next wave after winning the all-around at the recent Pan American Games. Then there are intriguing names like Samantha Peszek, Ivana Hong, Amber Trani and Bridget Sloan to throw into the mix.

The top two in the all-around at the Visa Championships gain automatic invitations to make the Stuttgart trip. Five other gymnasts will be selected to travel immediately after the Visa Championships and a final world championships lineup of six — plus one alternate — will be turned in shortly before the competition.

“We have to look for readiness,” Karolyi said. “After we finish [the Visa Championships], we’ll have three days left over to train as a team before we depart for the world championships. Certainly, we’ll be looking for the gymnasts which have the routines which are world-class routines. But also, we have to look to the fact that these gymnasts are very consistent with those routines and are able to perform them under high pressure situations. Those will be the criteria which have priority.”

Two of the bigger storylines at the Visa Championships revolve around Johnson and Liukin. Can Johnson continue her meteoric rise in the senior division? Can Liukin regain top form after battling back from a nagging ankle injury? …

WCSN.com

Watching training yesterday Shayla Worley was by far my favourite American gymnast. By far the most beautiful and artistic.

Her name is not mentioned in the WCSN article. Perhaps a simple oversight.

If i was Marta Karoli — and thank God I’m not under the pressure of that responsibility — I’d name Shayla to the team for sure.

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Shayla Worley – wallpaper

Shayla Worley – official website

Hamms host Cirque du Soleil at Ohio State

Paul and Morgan Hamm have a dedicated website called MakingTheOlympics.com.

They posted video of visiting circus artists from the show Corteo. It’s quite cute. High speed internet connection recommended:

hosting Cirque du Soleil VIDEO – MakingTheOlympics.com

They may certainly make the 2008 Olympics. But it’s highly doubtful the world will see them at World Championships in September. Paul and Morgan have both decided to compete only Floor and Pommel Horse at Championships.

It’s doubtful the US team coaches will choose anyone competing only two apparatus.

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Cirque visits Ohio State – screenshot from video

Zhou Zhuoru wins Universiade

BANGKOK, Aug. 11 (Xinhua) — World champion Zhou Zhuoru from China clinched the women’s gymnastics individual all-round title with a total score of 60.200 points at the Bangkok Universiade on Saturday. …

Olga Shcherbatykh from Ukraine took the sliver with 58.350 points.

Chinese Zhou wins women’s gymnastics all-round title at Universiade

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USA Championships 2007 San Jose

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official Championships 2007 website

blogging-this.jpgWebsite editor Rick McCharles is in San Jose for Championships.

I will be linking to results as well as relaying the buzz from the competition venue.

Of course I’m not the only one blogging Championships.

From World silver medalist Chelsie Memmel’s blog:

I leave for Championships this Sunday and have my first training at the HP Pavilion on Monday the 13th. We will train there for a few days and then compete on Thursday, August 16th and Saturday, August 18th. You can watch it on NBC TV on Saturday and Sunday evening!

I am really excited for Championships. My whole family is going, along with a few people from the gym. My best friend, Katie, is also coming!!

Chelsie’s blog

can women do MUSCLE-UP on rings?

I posed this question some time ago.

Several coaches got back to me with specific examples of female gymnasts who do it easily.

UPDATE: Kecks sent me a link to a CrossFit video.

These are non-gymnast adult women doing muscle-up series on rings. Their relative strength is better than 99.99% of the Men on the planet.

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To see the CrossFit video click here. (.wmv file)