The C Score (2.0)

Archive for the ‘Gym hops’ Category

Rumor has it that after all the drama of the past months, and suggestions of transfers to AOGC and Chow’s, it appears that Ivana Hong has finally made her choice …

… and it is WOGA, training in Valeri Liukin’s group with Nastia Liukin and Rebecca Bross.

Honestly, I’m somewhat disappointed by the choice. Putting family and gymnastics politics aside (I’m sure that will be discussed elsewhere), I think that WOGA doesn’t complement Hong’s current strengths nearly as well as Chow’s, my first choice for Hong.

Ivana Hong

Ivana Hong

Firstly, I think it might have been useful to train in a gym in which elites train in a larger group — Shawn Johnson currently trains will all of the optional-level athletes. Hong is known as the consummate perfectionist, and I think it might have revived her love for the sport and muted the perfectionism a bit to be in a larger group with other gymnasts. There’s nothing like a little perspective.

Second, it is widely known that Johnson trains minimal hours a week for an elite gymnast — only 24 hours, compared to many other gymnasts’ tallies approaching 40. Again, perhaps a more “normal” schedule would have been good.

Thirdly, and most importantly, I think that Chow’s gymnastics style would have suited Hong. She is already known for her grace, elegance and lines. She lacks power and, in some cases, really big skills. Naturally, WOGA will be a great place for Hong to improve her bars routine, which has been a sticking point for her despite the previously mentioned clean lines and good form. But overall I would have liked to see Hong’s assets complemented by the power and difficulty of a Johnson-type style. It would be like taking Johnson and handing her over to WOGA for a bit more focus on flexibility and bars.

Anyway, naturally, we all wish Hong the best at WOGA. I certainly hope it will get her out of the funk she’s been in. You’ll recall that at the 2007 Nationals she was pegged as one of the next big things, and I don’t think that was a totally unrealistic prediction. Her gymnastics is absolutely gorgeous, and she clearly has the work ethic to achieve something big. I hope to see her back in competition at 2009 Nationals!

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We’ve finally heard something from Ivana Hong, one of the alternates for the 2008 Olympic team. She’s been the subject of rumor since she left GAGE, where Al Fong has trained a number of Olympians, including Courtney McCool and Terin Humphrey.

The Hongs spoke with NBC Action News in this article.

It was pretty clear that something or other was wrong with Hong in the months leading up to Trials, both mentally and physically. Fong said:

“It became blatant she flat-out quit. It was almost as we were taken down a deep dark path.”

In fact, according to the Hongs, Fong discouraged Hong from seeking advice about a nagging ankle injury, which was in fact a fracture. Hong continued training anyway. But according to the famous Mrs. Hong, Fong stopped teaching Ivana.

This is quite something. Everyone thought Fong had kind of reformed since the whole two-girls-who-trained-with-him died fiasco.

On the other hand, Mrs. Hong is known for her somewhat heavy-handed relationship with her daughter’s coaches and her gymnastics training, and Ivana is said to be a difficult gymnast to train. So we’re left wondering if this was just a bad match in coaching, gymnastics and parenting styles.

As for GAGE, it’s been having financial troubles — Fong wrote about it on the GAGE Web site earlier this year. They are also looking for at least one coach for their team. I’m not 100% sure, but I believe they’ve redesigned their Web site since I was last there, and it no longer lists their team gymnasts.

The weirdest thing about this article, hoewver, is that there is no mention of where Hong is going next. Rumors have her going to Chow’s in Iowa, AOGC in California … remains to be seen.

Ivana Hong

Ivana Hong

After a lot of rumors flying around, it was confirmed at a Region 5 conference last night that Sam Peszek’s coach, Peter Zhao, is returning to China, according to WWGym.

Peter Zhao

Peter Zhao

This leaves Peszek at a gym with no qualified elite coach at Deveau’s in Fishers, Indiana. Rumor has it that she could go to Sharp’s, or even Chow’s.

I think Peszek’s still got some elite left in her — if she didn’t, one option would be to drop to Level 10, which Deveau’s has, and prepare for NCAA. She’s clearly keeping that option open since she hasn’t accepted any sponsors.

Of the other two gyms, I think Sharp’s seems more likely. It’s in West Indianapolis, which is clearly closer than Iowa, and Peszek is one of those few elite gymnasts who actually goes to a real school, Cathedral High. (On that subject, anyone who does elite gymnastics while attending a regular school is leaps and bounds above everyone else.) Peszek would be training there with Bridget Sloan, fellow 2008 Olympic team member. On the other hand, I think Peszek and Sloan have very different gymnastics personalities. But the gym is clearly right up there at her level.

By contrast, I think Chow’s is less likely but would be a better fit. They are clearly a gym capable of training elites without sacrificing education. Shawn Johnson and Peszek are actually incredibly similar as gymnasts, which has become increasingly clear, especially in the next year. They’re both powerful tumblers with great, big skills. I think they would do well together. On the other hand, Peszek’s reaching the end of her high school career, so I think it’s a less likely move.

ETA 9/30: It’s official on the Deveau’s Web site.

ETA 10/3: Peszek will be staying at DeVeau’s, working with an as-yet-unidentified new elite coach, according to this interview. She also gives us the clearest answer (besides Sacramone, who is clearly retiring) about what she will be doing in the future: she says she is continuing in the elite program, hopes to compete at Worlds in 2009, and is eventually aiming at NCAA.

ETA 10/6: Rumor has it that Zhao will be replaced by Luminita Miscenco-Garcy (alternatively known as Luminita Miscenco, her maiden name, and Luminita Garcy), best known as Dominique Moceanu’s coach at the 1998 Goodwill Games (where she won the gold). She is currently (at least in 2007 last I know) a coach for the national team. Interestingly, here is a picture of Peszek with Miscenco-Garcy when Miscenco-Garcy was at DeVeau’s for two weeks in 2005:

Peszek with Luminita Miscenco-Garcy, her soon-to-be coach?

Peszek with Luminita Miscenco-Garcy, her soon-to-be coach?


About The C Score

First there was A score and B score, now D score and E score. Where is the C score? Right here. In the form of my random thoughts about women's artistic gymnastics.

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