Archive for the ‘Awards’ Category
Olympian Andreea Acatrinei, who trains at Deva of course, was named athlete of the year for the province of Hunedoara. Ceralesca Patrascu, who won the award in 2006, came in second. See the Pro Sport article.
Steliana Nistor won the best athlete award for Sibiu this year. (Article in Pro Sport.)
Nastia Liukin continues to rack up the honors. She has been nominated as the United States Sports Academy Athlete of the Year.
If you’d like to vote for Liukin, you can do so here. She’s competing against 11 other female nominees and 12 male nominees. She could win both Female Athlete of the Year and Athlete of the Year.
I personally think that she should win for this vault alone (from the Beijing all-around, obviously!):
The Karolyis win again … and it’s not a medal or a title … it’s a … business award? The Karolyis were awarded the “Houston International Executive of the Year” award by the Kiwanis Club, according to this press release by USA Gymnastics.
Probably the most exciting part is that you can buy tickets to the celebratory luncheon (see press release for details). Not a bad lunch break for Houston natives!
According to the press release, this is the 22nd edition of this award:
The International Executive of the Year recognizes an outstanding business person who has demonstrated the global leadership that continues to make Houston a center of international business.
Certainly the Karolyis have a thriving gymnastics empire down there, but are they really contributing to Houston’s renown as an international center of business?
More interesting is that they were awarded this honor *together* despite the fact that Marta took over the reigns from Bela as national team coordinator nearly eight years ago. (Then again, to be fair, the camp makes its money off of the stuff they do for younger gymnasts, a program in which Bela is intimately involved.) Anyway, this got me thinking about how Marta’s been doing since 2000, and whether it was really important for Bela to go.
I am coincidentally rewatching the 2000 Olympic Trials right now. It’s interesting to hear Al et al. go on and on about how much everyone hates the Trials process, when in fact we are using practically the same system now.
The major differences between 2000 and 2008 are:
- The top two from Trials are “guaranteed” spots on the team
- There is an Olympic training camp following Trials
- The selection committee consists of three, not four, people
Otherwise, Marta and company are free to be just as despotic about their decisions as Bela was. The important differences are not institutional, they are cultural. Firstly, it was widely thought that Bela did not implement his plan in a way that bought the affections of gymnasts’ coaches. Second, and I think more importantly (given that Marta is not exactly the most friendly and conciliatory type either), is that coaches have gotten used to the system. Yes, there was an uproar after Sydney because the system failed to deliver, but then the system itself was not replaced, and the architect of said system was replaced by the person most like him! All of this, to me, is evidence that the uproar against Bela was probably unjustified.
Moreover, the data from the resulting Olympic teams of the three quads we have experienced under this system are illuminating. Of any single Trials between 2000 and 2008, the 2000 all-around results are the best at predicting the ultimate Olympic team. Only one person was skipped in the all-around order and that was (truly sadly) Vanessa Atler. In 2004 you have to go down to 11th to find Annia Hatch and in 2008 you have to go down to 15th to find Bridget Sloan. Now, of course, the fact that specialists were much more required by the 6-3-3 format of Athens and Beijing makes the choice of fewer all-arounders more likely.
On the other hand, this does not deny the fact that ultimately the 2000 Trials probably led to a selection that few would have rejected if Sydney had not gone so poorly. A system based entirely on an athlete’s finish at Trials would have given practically the same team, replacing Dominique Dawes with Atler. It’s not clear what, in their move to remove Bela, coaches would have preferred. In any case, the opaqueness of the process may have irked them, but the outcome was probably no different from what would have resulted from the selection process they would have preferred!
Personally, Bela has always seemed like a better motivator to me. But, well, now he’s got his llamas.
1. Elise Ray
2. Amy Chow
3. Kristen Maloney
4. Morgan White
5. Jamie Dantzscher
6. Vanessa Atler
7. Dominique Dawes
1. Courtney Kupets
2. Courtney McCool
3. Carly Patterson
4. Tabitha Yim
5. Allyse Ishino
6. Mohini Bhardwaj
7. Terin Humphrey
8. Tasha Schwikert
9. Carly Janiga
10. Liz Tricase
11. Annia Hatch
1. Shawn Johnson
2. Nastia Liukin
3. Chellsie Memmel
4. Samantha Peszek
5. Ivana Hong
6. Jana Bieger
7. Mattie Larson
8. Chelsea Davis
9. Corrie Lothrop
10. Olivia Courtney
11. Randy Stageberg
12. Alaina Johnson
13. Alicia Sacramone
14. Shayla Worley
15. Bridget Sloan
In shocking news, Nastia Liukin was named FIG Athlete of the Year. The FIG, with their ever stellar Web presence, has so far only posted a press release, but USA Gymnastics has a little blurb about it too.
Liukin won the Women’s Sports Foundation’s Sportswoman of the Year award earlier this fall. According to this USAG press release, she’s the first U.S. gymnast to do so since Mary Lou Retton, which leaves Carly Patterson the odd woman out. She was also named USOC’s Athlete of the Month in August.
She hasn’t won USAG’s Athlete of the Year award yet, but of course she will. She already won it once, in 2005, and tied with Chellsie Memmel for the award in 2006. Shawn Johnson, naturally, won the award last year.