The C Score (2.0)

Maria Luciene Resende wins presidency of Brazilian Gymnastics Federation

Posted on: December 7, 2008

Amidst the turmoil of a major gymnastics coaching scandal, the Brazilian Gymnastics Federation has made a largely lateral move in electing Maria Luciene Resende as its new president. Resende replaces Vicelia Florenzano, who has been president of the CBG for 17 years. The news is announced here by Globoesporte

Vicelia Florenzano, right, with Simona Amanar and Yelena Davydova, at the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame, where she received the International Order of Merit in 2007

Vicelia Florenzano, right, with Simona Amanar and Yelena Davydova, at the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame, where she received the International Order of Merit in 2007

Resende was previously the president of the Sergipe Gymnastics Federation and has served as Florezano’s second-in-command as vice-president of the CBG since 2006. To be fair, the other choice, Marco Martins, is the current president of the Brasilia Gymnastics Federation (of the capital city of Brasilia, not to be confused with the CBG) and was vice-president of the CBG until Resende took over, so neither choice would have been radical.

Resende won by 13 votes to 5. This might not be surprising given that Martins was the previous vice-president of the CBG, leaving in 2006 due to differences of opinion, presumably at least partly with Florenzano.

Naturally, the main goal for Resende will be to “clean up” the image of the CBG following Jade Barbosa’s accusations that she had been submitted to an overly difficult training regimen (amongst other things), an accusation that was backed up by Daiane dos Santos and Lais Souza. Barbosa has since moved from Curitiba, site of the national training center, to train with Daniele Hypolito, amongst others, in Rio de Janeiro.

Resende has said that dialog is the best soution to the problem. On the other hand, Resende is up for leaving Irina Ilyashenko, Oleg Ostapenko’s former assistant coach, in charge of the national team. (Ostapenko returned last month to the Ukraine after declining an offer from Russia.) She also was less eager than Martins to devolve power to the regional clubs. Like Martins, she has also been quite praising of Florenzano, which would have made sense earlier — given that it was under Florenzano’s leadership that Brazil took its current place on the gymnastics map — but seems somewhat discouraging given recent events. Usually one tries to distance oneself from incumbents that have presided over scandal. Then again, if gymnastics politics can be described as anything, it would be as a patronage system.

If you want to compare the views of the two candidates, you can do so here, from UOL Esporte. Martins has been much more detailed in his proposals, with Resende’s limited to finding new talent, choosing good gymnasts, and having good coaches and referees (um, duh?).

Either way, it seems we’ll have to wait to see what changes Resende will bring, since she was even less forthcoming than Martins about how she would like to restructure the CBG and the training program.

For those who are still sketchy on the details of the Brazilian coaching scandal, it goes like this: Barbosa accused her coaches of overtraining her in preparation for the Olympics. These allegations were substantiated by dos Santos and Souza. Meanwhile, Ostapenko took off for Ukraine, leading somewhat of a leadership void — at least in the gym — anyway. Then Barbosa moved to Rio de Janeiro. Barbosa, dos Santos and Souza are are all injured. The only one who seems to have escaped both scandal and injury is Hypolito, who will compete at the World Cup Final next week. For the full drama, see And Now a Brazilian Scandal and The Brazilian Scandal: Part II on Triple Full.

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