The C Score (2.0)

Archive for the ‘Retirements’ Category

British Gymnastics at some point posted this interview with Beth Tweddle. There’s no date, but it seems pretty recent.

Beth Tweddle for 2012?

Beth Tweddle for 2012?

Anyway, a few notes:

  • She’s back in training at Liverpool, with Jennifer Pinches and Hannah Whelan
  • She’s definitely planning for Euros 2009
  • She will specialize only on vault uneven bars and floor
  • She’s looking forward to competing in London 2009 (Worlds)
  • She is hoping for 2012: “There’s a slight bit of “Yes” coming out now”

Bela Karolyi was in Chicago today to promote the American Cup, which will be held there in March 2009. There is a lot of good information coming out of these articles.

Bela at his ranch

Bela at his ranch

The Chinese age scandal

What, you thought it was going to go away?

Karolyi is still talking about the Chinese age scandal. He thinks the 2000 Olympics inquiry was perfunctory and is not convincing in the slightest:

“I think that’s just a cover-up. They’re trying to hold onto their reputation on this issue, when it’s one of the most blatant things we’ve ever seen.”

Karolyi says that he complained about the age question back in Sydney, saying that he pointed out that one of the girls (I assume Dong Fangxiao, but it could have been Yang Yun) had been a junior the year before and that it was impossible that she could have aged two years in one year. (He makes a good point.)

Interestingly, Karolyi was backed up by Steve Penny of USA Gymnastics more than usual. He said “Bela makes a good point when he says the Chinese kids went out there and did a good job. But there’s a rule that says you’ve got to be 16.”

My favorite part is where he added: “Here’s Rebecca Bross, two months short of being able to compete, sitting, crying in front of her TV, watching kids younger than her compete.” Really? Rebecca Bross was CRYING in front of her television?

It’s official: Marta’s staying

Bela confirms that Marta will be around at least through 2012. Interestingly, Penny says that the Karolyis (both of them) are “USA Gymnastics’ long-term plan.” Everyone loves the program (that Bela created, and that they hated at the time … no, I’m not bitter).

Bela then mentioned Kim Zmeskal as a possible successor!

Nastia Liukin, Shawn Johnson, Samantha Peszek continuing

Apparently Liukin was briefly at the trainign camp that just started, and told Bela she would continue competing.

Bela also said that while we lost all of our athletes after the 2004 cycle, at least Liukin, Johnson and Peszek will continue.

A little clue on Bela’s favorites?

When asked who the next big thing was, Bela answered Rebecca Bross and Jordyn Wieber. He called Wieber a “diamond” and compared her to Shawn Johnson (directly, and also by mentioning her ability to stay on the beam!).

And: one last (boring) article.

**Scroll down to the 11/10 edit**

So this article from The Des Moines Register has the closest we’ve gotten to an update from Shawn Johnson.

Johnson says that to compete in Nationals and Worlds, she would have to start training immediately after the Tour:

“To compete next year, I’d have to start training directly after the tour. … It would be hard to get into the kind of shape I’m happy with. If I did come back, I’d want to be better than ever, even if it takes three years. I’d want to be more perfect and precise.”

And she says that she will go back to high school immediately (thank god).

But then her mother and agent come back with attempts to convince us to take what Johnson has said with a grain of salt:

Teri Johnson (who by the way seems like a great mother for a gymnast):

“Mentally she needs to be in the right frame of mind to have that conversation. She’s exhausted. We’ve only had four days with her since July. She has been on the road working hard. She’s only 16. I don’t think she’s prepared to have that kind of conversation without a family member present.”

And then this from her agent, Sheryl Shade:

“She hasn’t been home to sit down with her parents and discuss it. It’s a family decision. She hasn’t been home yet to have that conversation.”

Weird, right? It sounds like Johnson kind of knows what she wants, but her family wants in on the decision, and her agent doesn’t want us to write her off so that she stops making money off the possibility of continuing. At least, that’s my interpretation. Do other people have alternative perspectives? Honestly, I hope Johnson continues, even if it’s not for a while. She is a great, precise gymnast, and she wants to be even more precise? I couldn’t really ask for more. (Except a little more flexibility ….)

EDIT 11/10: It looks like Johnson has made her decision: this new article from the Register is headlined “Shawn Johnson says she’ll compete in 2012 Games in London,” based on the following quotation:

“I’ve got [it] set in stone that I want to continue. … Gymnastics is my life and I can’t see myself finishing yet, and I’d love to go for 2012.

Her mother then says: “If I had my choice, I’d keep her home for the next four years. But, you know, that’s not going to happen no matter what she does. So if she wants to give it another go, we are all for it. Absolutely.”

The interview is available here.

So it looks like Johnson’s just being smart. Take a little time off, keep training, don’t push yourself to get back into competition form … and then zoom back out onto the world stage in 2010?

After talking to Samantha Peszek and Chellsie Memmel, USA Gymnastics has posted a short interview with Shawn Johnson.

Unfortunately, Johnson remains vague about her future plans:

Q: Are you going to continue training?
A: Definitely. I’m taking it one day at a time.

Q: Do you have more goals in the sport of gymnastics?
A: It’s hard to say right now after just finishing (the Olympic Games). I hope to just stay happy in the sport and if I go for another Olympics, it will be to get more medals.

Not really sure what the last part means … why else go to the Olympics again? 🙂 Anyway, I’m hoping she’ll continue, so I’m going to take this as a good sign.

You can catch up with Peszek here and Memmel here. Memmel has been the most clear about what she plans to do, saying she’d continue at least until Worlds 2009. (Her father, incidentally, just joined a Facebook group called “Chellsie Memmel for 2012 Olympics” … we’ll see if her body can hold up, as she herself said.) Peszek says she’s taking time to “breath” and let the ankle heal, but is “anxious” to resume training.

ETA 10/13: You can catch up with Bridget Sloan here, but we pretty much already knew she was continuing!

ETA 10/16: They’ve caught up with Alicia Sacramone here. She’s extremely clear here about believing that her body can’t hold up to training anymore. She’ll be back at Brown in January (after performing at all the East-Coast stops on the Tour). I’ll miss her, but I am *really* glad she’s at such a good school.

ETA 10/20: USA Gymnastics has rounded out its series by catching up with Nastia Liukin here. Nothing of interest in this interview that we didn’t already know: she plans to continue training, and she may take another semester off of Southern Methodist, where she was accepted but never attended classes.

Sam Peszek, Shawn Johnson and Chellsie Memmel

Sam Peszek, Shawn Johnson and Chellsie Memmel

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?

Steliana Nistor, the silver medalist in the all-around at the 2007 World championships, is retiring, according to this post on a Nistor fan blog. Apparently, she will be focusing on her studies at the Sports Academy in her hometown of Sibiu. Unfortunately, this is not surprising news, given that she did not accompany the team to their retreat on the Black Sea after the Olympics and, more importantly, the fact that she has been facing major back problems for over a year.

What Nistor will be remembered for, unfortunately, will probably be two things: first, that she placed the dreaded fourth in a number of all-around competitions; and, second, that she appeared to be routinely overscored despite major form problems.

Nistor's DTY at 2007 Worlds

Nistor's DTY at 2007 Worlds

Having said this, I actually really liked Nistor as a gymnast. Her vault was pretty much consistently terrible, with pretty much constant form problems (see above). But I really loved her floor. She had some good dance elements, particularly turns; was a precise tumbler (though, still, some form problems in the air); and had great floor music at the end of this quadrennium. Below is her floor from the 2007 Worlds:

Nistor was a mainstay of the Romanian gymnastics team in this quadrennium, and I’m going to miss her. I enjoyed her especially on beam and, as I mentioned, floor. For a Romanian in recent years, moreover, she had quite a good bar routine.

Nistor on bars

Nistor on bars

She had some cool skills, too, including a Ray on bars, and a handspring to back full on beam.

Here’s a short montage:

ETA 9/30: Apparently Forminte and Nistor will be having a meeting to make a final decision, at least according to Forminte. Something tells me Nistor has made up her mind … but maybe there’s still hope she’ll continue. The meeting is supposed to be held in the next few days.

ETA 10/1: According to this post — hey! I’m learning Romanian! — Forminte and Nistor talked, and he has accepted her retirement.

Beth Tweddle, 2006 Worlds bar champion and the best gymnast to ever come out of Great Britain, has said that she may not retire after all. Before Beijing she was set to retire at 23 after Worlds in London next year. Now she’s saying that finishing fourth is “the worst place to finish” (I would have to agree!) and:

I am at the top of my game at the moment and it is not impossible to go on into my late 20s or even 30s with gymnastics if I stay fit.

She also said, though, that she was officially retired from the all-around, so she would go to London (in 2009 and 2012) as a specialist.

I never thought Tweddle’s bars were that beautiful, she’s certainly no Liukin, and she doesn’t rival the Chinese or Liukin on artistry. But her combination is really amazing, and she does a Shaposhnikova that’s among the best in the business (almost no one keeps her legs together on that thing). And actually she can be graceful on certain skills, including her Pak. I’d be happy to see her continue to 2012.

Here’s a video of Tweddle’s gold-medal performance in Aarhus.


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.

Pages

November 2019
M T W T F S S
« Jan    
 123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
252627282930