The C Score (2.0)

Archive for the ‘Gymnast updates’ Category

Ever since Vanessa Ferrari stunned the gymnastics community with victory at the 2006 World Championships, it’s been a tough road …

Most recently, Ferrari underwent a short surgery to repair damage to her ankle. According to the Italian Gymnastics Federation, everything went well (see press release here).

Since the Achilles was not involved, recovery should be fairly swift. She’ll be in a cast for 20 days and crutches for another 20 after that. Still, she may not be prepared for Worlds.

This comes after Ferrari won her fourth Italian championship in late May. (She would have had five in a row if she hadn’t been overtaken by Lia Parolari last year.)

I like Ferrari. I think she is a really solid gymnast, even if her path since 2006 has been a little rocky. She does by far my favorite beam mount (in its various iterations) among current international elite gymnasts. She earned a 16.000 (9.3 B/E-score) for this routine at the 2007 Europeans qualifications:

(International Gymnast has an article on this that basically parrots the press release … not unlike what I am doing!)

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Now that Jade Barbosa is magically training — and planning to compete — one-handed, the Brazilian Gymnastics Federation seems to want her back, according to this Globoesporte article:

Important points:

  • Her wrist is “doing better”
  • They were annoyed at her for gaining weight and not taking training seriously
  • Georgette Vidor, team coordinator, has observed her training and is satisfied
  • Irina Ilyashenko wants the team to stay in Curitibia all the time, but Vidor doesn’t agree, so Barbosa doesn’t have to
  • Brazilian choreographer André Marcelo Alves de Figueiredo, who lives in the USA, is working with almost all of the Brazilian gymnasts, including Khiuna Dias, Ana Claudia Silva, Bruna Leal, Ethiene Franco, and Letícia Costa

I suppose it’s not surprising that they were willing to fight with her when it looked like she might be done. Now they can’t afford to bicker with arguably their biggest star.

Nansy Damianova

Nansy Damianova

Nansy Damianova, one of two gymnasts who represented Canada at the 2008 Olympics, will continue through 2009 and possibly through 2012.

Damianova told IG in a recent interview that her Olympic experience made her realize she wanted to continue in international competition, definitely for the 2009 Worlds, and possibly through the 2012 Olympics. It’s especially nice since Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs, Canada’s other Olympic qualifier, is now at UCLA.

Damianova, who trains at Gymnix, says she is aiming for good finishes at Canadian Championships, Worlds and the new Gymnix World Cup.

About her new teammates, including Brittany Rogers, recent champion at Elite Canada, Damianova says:

“I think it will be very exciting to help leading Canada’s new generation of seniors in the new year because I know the girls pretty well. I have competed with a few of them on the same team when I was in my last year as a junior, and we get along very well. It will definitely be a new and different experience, being the oldest and helping the team. Before, I was usually one of the youngest and less experienced on the team. We also have some pretty strong and interesting girls coming up, so we should have an interesting team in the coming years. It will be fun to see the team evolve.”

According to the latest rumors, Anna Pavlova is indeed planning to return to competition after she recovers from her ACL injury (sustained at the DTB Cup).

Pavlova was recently at the Voronin Cup. She’s walking (albeit with a serious brace):

A few updates from my favorite national team:

Corina Ungureanu

Remember Corina Ungureanu? She was a member of the Romanian gymnastics team in the 1990s, and was a member of the 1997 and 1999 world champion Romanian teams. She later retired in 1999 due to a spinal cord injury, and then did a number of naked things, including posing in Romanian Playboy (which she did again earlier this year), and doing gymnastics routines topless on a Japanese DVD.

Ungureanu is now 28, and she now lives in England, where she is coaching on the Isle of Man. And, according to this Libertatea article, she is now training bars, beam and floor herself, and recently competed in an internal competition on beam and floor. Remember, she was the 1998 European floor champion.

Check it out:

Awards for Dragoi and Tamirjan

Gabriela Dragoi was named Athlete of the Year for Buzau county, according to this article in Stiri Locale Bucuresti.

Dragoi and Tamirjan

Dragoi and Tamirjan

In other heartwarming Dragoi news, a businessman named Costel Bucur is helping out her family (she has five siblings) by helping to rebuild their house and donating things for Christmas. Very cool. See article here.

Ana Maria Tamirjan was also honored recently by the Prahova Directorate for Sport, which encompasses Ploesti. Tamirjan is second in the competition for best athlete of Prahova county, with first place going to someone who does judo.

Tamirjan said:

2008 was a hard year, in which we had many injuries, which makes this even more satisfying. [In 2009], on a person level, I’d like to come back with medals from Europeans and Worlds. Otherwise, I hope for good health and the ability to work hard.

Tamirjan is recovering from a cracked femur, and consequently has refused to take off more than one day for Christmas!

See Pro Sport article here.

Andreea Acatrinei won the Best Athlete award for Hunedoara, with Ceralesca Patrascu second. Steliana Nistor won for Sibiu.

Sandra Izbasa

And, naturally, what Romanian update would be complete without something about Sandra Izbasa? She is currently in Belgium for an exhibition (see here). She’ll be performing on beam and floor. Dariya Zgoba will supposedly also be there. (In other exhibition news, Chellsie Memmel is in Holland for similar reasons.)

Nicolae Forminte did an interview with Replica.

Nicolae Forminte with Sandra Izbasa

Nicolae Forminte with Sandra Izbasa

In the interview, Forminte talks about the Romanians’ performance in Beijing and their hopes for 2009, and also has some very kind words for Steliana Nistor.

Of the Romanians’ performance in Beijing, Forminte says that Nistor and Ana Maria Tamirjan didn’t really finalize their routines until Beijing, where they did a lot of last-minute training. Moreover, Gabriela Dragoi was suffering from leg pain. This left Forminte with only one team member fully able to contribute: Sandra Izbasa. No wonder she was the only one to win gold.

On the other hand, Forminte is not disappointed in his team’s performance:

I believed in myself and in my colleagues, and I managed to fulfill our objectives. I was tremendously happy that the team remained on the Olympic podium.

Forminte also says that he didn’t really publicize news of Nistor’s back problems before the 2008 Olympics (among other things) because he didn’t want to use it as an excuse for the Romanians’ performance.

You’ll recall that when she first retired, Forminte tried to convince Nistor not to, but he now says that he wasn’t sure she could continue, concluding that, “For me, the gymnastics chapter of Steliana’s life has ended, but we remain in contact.”

Who's more talented?

Nistor and Liukin: Who's more talented?

Because of her injury, Nistor was not able to train at the level of intensity that was necessary to achieve Forminte’s biggest goal for her: to win gold in the all-around. This is disappointing to Forminte especially because, he says, “She was more talented than the American [Nastia] Liukin.”

(That’s a difficult argument to make! But I’ll let people fight it out amongst themselves. Suffice it to say, Liukin does seem to have a lot more medals. … Then again, natural talent and hard work are too different things. Then again, Liukin’s entire DNA is a veritable vault of talent. Aaanyway.)

With Nistor gone, there is certainly an aura of stress surrounding Forminte. He talks about the difficulties the Romanians faced in the last quadrennium, saying that it did not go unnoticed by foreign coaches and others that he kept showing up to competitions with new gymnasts. He says that he has been anxious and unable to rest.

As for the looking to the past and hoping for the future, Forminte attributes the Romanian decline to two things: the Code of Points and the current Romanian system for training children and junior athletes. You’ll recall that Forminte said after the Olympics that under the old CoP, the Romanians would have won: they had the cleanest exercises. But, he acknowledges, it’s important to change with the times and address these issues, even citing a desire to improve on bars. (Thank god.)

For 2009, Forminte is looking at Izbasa, Tamirjan, Dargoi. He hopes to see Dragoi and Andreea Acatrinei back, but both are currently injured. He also mentions Diana Chelaru. Otherwise, he says, he has not yet found a junior with the talent to replace Nistor. (I assume Larisa Iordache doesn’t count because of her age.)

It’s going to be tough for the Romanians. Lots of problems on bars among juniors (more on Romanian juniors here); I hope Forminte’s serious when he says he wants to work on that.

I respect Forminte. As Al Trautwig always used to say about Octavian Belu, the man lives in a one-room house adjacent to the gym compound. It’s a tough life. Also, if Izbasa is any reflection on him, he’s a good coach, I think. She’s been dealing with this ridiculous schedule really well, and dealt with her World Cup Final disappointment exceedingly gracefully. Anyway, as you can tell, I’m glad she’s still around. I really liked Nistor, but Izbasa’s my favorite current Romanian senior. (We’ll have to wait until 2012 (!) to see if Iordache can grab that spot.)

A small group of French gymnasts is in Grieux (near Grenoble) for a training camp lasting until December 23rd.

Apparently national coach Véronique Legras-Snoeck wants to integrate the youngest seniors, those born in 1993, including Youna Dufournet.

Pauline Morel will not be at Giers, but has already announced that she will continue competing.

The gymnasts present are Dufournet, Emilie Dupuis, Manon Erre, Eva Maurin, Elodie Perez, Marine Petit, Typhaine Pompilio, and Chloé Stanic. Petit is the only Olympic-team member to show up at Giers.

Of other gymnasts who could/should have been present, many are excused, and some are injured (including Laetitia Dugain, Kathleen Lindor, Aurélie Malausséna and Angéline Serre). Apparently Rose-Eliandre Bellemare and Lindsay Lindor are in Guadeloupe for a gala. Guadeloupe or Giers? You decide.

Finally, Marine Debauve has not yet decided on the future of her gymnastics career (by which I mean, whether it exists).