Friday, November 27, 2015

Great Britain Showcases a Strong Start in Odense

Great Britain demonstrated a strong start on the first day of the 2015 World Trampoline Gymnastics, Tumbling and Double-Mini Trampoline Championships in Odense, Denmark, making six finals and four semi-finals on both the trampoline and tumbling disciplines.
For the trampoline gymnasts, this competition will serve as the qualifying event for the Summer Olympic Games in Rio next year, wherein the top eight finalists will automatically secure an Olympic place and the rest of the top 24 semi-finalist will get a second chance and proceed at the Olympic test event in Rio next year. Great Britain has achieved two spots in the women’s individual semi-final and one spot in the men’s event, which means the country, at the very least, have successfully secured three spots in the test event next year.

In the women’s event, it was Pamela Clark, a member of the gold-medal-winning team at the 2014 Trampoline European Championships, who secured the highest rank for Great Britain, after finishing sixth place. The British gymnast showed no signs of nervousness and remained calm throughout her performances, and she executed two remarkable routines which earned her a total score of 101.135. 

Three-consecutive British champion Bryony Page also displayed a great performance at the qualifying rounds, she executed two clean routines to secure the 10th place after obtaining a total score of 100.715. Kat Driscoll, 2012 Olympian Kat Driscoll carried a very confident aura in her 8th World championship appearance to finish 12th with a total score of 100.440. 

Amanda Parker also remained calm all throughout her performance to finish with a total score of 98.200. However, even though she managed to make it to the top 24, she won’t be able to make it on the individual semi-finals since only three gymnasts per country can qualify. The British women’s team also finished second ahead of Russia in the team event finals.
Pamela was very delighted with the performances of her teammates, “I’m really happy, it was a little bit unexpected, but I think the work not only from me but the team and the coaches and support staff too has obviously paid off, not just for me but with all the other girls. I’m just going into the semi-finals with a clear head and then it’s just another competition again. Hopefully I will do another good performance and see where that takes me.”

Additionally, Bryony stated: “I think I’m more relieved than anything, my routines were a bit shaky because I was quite nervous but overall I’m really happy because when I was in the moment I felt strong.”

Kat was also very pleased with the results but she hopes for a much better performance in the semi-finals. “I’m obviously pleased but I know I’ve got improvements to make, which hopefully we can do come semi-finals. We have got team finals tomorrow, so we can use that as a kind of rehearsal as it’s a zero final and one voluntary routine, the same as the semi-final, and the see where we go from there.”

In the qualification rounds of the men’s trampoline event, Nathan Bailey secured the top spot for Great Britain after finishing 14th with his two remarkable performances which earned him a total score of 105.480. His 14th place finish earned Great Britain men’s team a sure spot in the test event next year, still with a possibility of making it to the finals and secure an Olympic place. This was a very remarkable finish for the GB men’s team as there were no male participants in the previous Olympics.
Nathan said after: “I’m so pleased, it was the goal coming into these championship to make that top 24. I’m in a really good position and I am really happy with my performance and looking forward for what’s to come over the next few days.”

The competition resumes today, 27th of November (Friday) with the trampoline team finals, the women’s tumbling team finals and the double-mini trampoline qualifications and women’s team final.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Gymnasts To Take a Huge Leap Towards Olympics

There is less than 9 months left before the 2016 Rio Olympics finally starts, and the top Trampoline gymnasts from all over the world are getting ready to take a huge leap to finally reach their Olympic dreams at the 31st World Trampoline Gymnastics Championships in Odense, Denmark this Thursday.

This year’s edition of the Trampoline Championships will serve as a qualifying event for next year’s Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Top eight gymnasts will automatically qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games, while those who will make it to the top 16 will get a second chance to secure a berth at the Olympic Test Event in Rio next April.

Aside from Trampoline, which has been a part of the Olympic program since the year 2000, World titles in Synchronized Trampoline, Double-mini Trampoline and Tumbling can also be earned at the World Championships in Odense. In addition, the gymnasts who will participate in these three disciplines will also get a chance to qualify for the World Games 2017 in Wroclaw, Poland – the “Olympics for non-Olympic disciplines”.

Return of the Olympic champions

Three Olympic champions will make an appearance in Odense to compete against the World’s top Trampoline gymnasts. Dong dong, a Chinese Trampoline gymnast, was a three-time World gold-medalist (2009, 2010 and 2013) and an Olympic Champion in the 2012 Summer Games. Another Chinese Trampolinist, He Wenna, who won the gold medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics, will also be present in Odense. Canada’s defending Olympic Champion, Rosannagh MacLennan, will also make an appearance in the World Championships.

Aside from the three Olympic Champions, some other remarkable gymnasts will also show up in Odense Championships. Another Canadian gymnast, 2003 World champion Karen Cockburn, who hasn’t own any individual World titles since but holds three Olympic medals (bronze in 2000 Olympics and silvers in 2004 and 2008 Summer Games). Ekaterina Khilko, 2008 Olympic bronze medallist, Jason Burnett and Dmitry Ushakov, silver medallists in 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games respectively will also compete in Odense.

China, an enduring dynasty

No other team in Odense appears to be as supercharged as China, which will showcase five individual World Champions and two Olympic gold medallists. In the men’s competition, 2012 Olympic gold medallist Dong Dog and defending World champion Tu Xiao will try to hold off the charge of younger compatriots Gao Lei and Xiao Jinyu for the two spots available per country in the medal round. Making it to the finals would prove that they are still the best Chinese trampolinist of all time, but Gao was proved to be a tough opponent in the past two seasons, after beating both his rivals multiple times in World Cup competition.

All of the four Chinese Trampoline gymnasts, (Li Dan, He Wenna, and Liu Lingling) proved to have what it takes to win the World Title, having already won the World titles in 2010, 2011 and 2014 Championships respectively. On the other hand, Zhong Xingping, was a 2013 World runner up.

The age-proof veterans

Four veteran Trampoline gymnasts, Nikolai Kazak(38), Karen Cockburn(35), Ekaterina Khilko(33), and Tatsia Piatrenia(34), proves that age is just a number, and they are set to compete against younger gymnasts in Odense. Still at their peak performance, each of these veterans could probably contend against the world’s top trampolinist. Canadian gymnast Cockburn, the gymnast who won the most Olympic medals in the Trampoline gymnastics history, is aspiring to make her fifth Olympic appearance in Rio next summer, just like Uzbekistan’s Khilko, 2008 Olympic bronze medalist.

Tatsiana Piatrenia, a Belarusian gymnast, who won the gold medal in Synchro Trampoline competition in 2003 proved that she still has what it takes after winning the Loulé World Cup, the finale of the 2015 FIG World Cup series, last month in Portugal. With Synchro partner Uladzislau Hancharou, Kazak became the silver medalist in 2014, 20 years after his World Championships Debut.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Success of British Team in Glasgow inspires Jay Thompson

Jay Thompson, a gymnast from South Essex Gymnastics Club admits that the remarkable accomplishments of his teammates at the recently held World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Glasgow has encouraged him to go back to gymnastics.

The 19-year-old gymnast, who is currently recovering slowly after suffering from a dislocated elbow, was left with no choice but to watch his teammates Max Whitlock and Brinn Bevan as they fight for Great Britain in Glasgow.
Despite that, the outstanding medal-winning performances of his colleagues has inspired him to fight his way back to the sport.

“I’m really proud of how well they did but I’m jealous as well because it’s something I want to be doing as well,” Thompson said.

“Due to circumstances I couldn’t be there taking part but it’s certainly something that motivates me because I’ve seen how successful they are and I want that too.”

Thompson watched the opening day of the competition in Glasgow, where he witnessed the World Championships debut of Reiss Beckford, a gymnast who also came from South Essex Gymnastics Club. 

Thompson believes that he is also capable of achieving the accomplishments that his colleagues have attained.

“It’s seems more achievable for me now and it’s definitely something that could happen,” said Thompson.

“However, I’m working on getting back fit at the moment and I can’t afford to rush back.”

The injury, which he had acquired during the course of his training, has led him to have his Achilles stitched during his surgery.

Nevertheless, he is glad with the progress that he is making.

“I’m 10 weeks post op and things are starting to pick up for me now,” said Thompson.

“I’m managing to do some stuff in the gym and I can do a lot more than last year when my elbow injury was a lot worse.”

“Now I can do everything but floor and vault so I’ll be making sure they will be strong when I get back.”

The19-year-old gymnast also hopes to get back to the sport sooner to make it to the Olympic selection in Rio next summer.

“In my mind it will be a massive struggle but I’ll still be pushing as hard as I can for Rio,” said Thompson.

“There are the Europeans as well and I’ll be pushing to back on all six by the time the British Championships comes around.

“But for now it’s just about working hard in training. I’ve been massively lonely training on my own.

“I’ve missed the guys a lot so it’s great to have them back here again.”

Jay Thompson was eager to express his gratitude to his sponsors, Paul Lancaster, MyProtein and Groovy Food Company for their unending support . 

Great Britain Secured Team Olympic Berth

The British men’s gymnastics team have successfully secured their spot for the Olympic Games in Rio next year after confirming their place at the Artistic Gymnastics Championships team finals in Glasgow.
The countries who made it to the top eight of the team competition have acquired guaranteed spot in Rio Games next year, and with a finishing score of 354.417, the Great Britain has proved enough.

The accomplishment of the British men’s team came after the success of the women’s team, who have also secured their Olympic spot for Rio after taking the third place in the team finals in Glasgow – Britain’s best finish in an Olympic qualifying competition.

The British men’s winning team was comprised of Max Whitlock, Brinn Bevan, Nile Wilson, Dan Purvis, Kristian Thomas and Louis Smith.

“Qualifying is almost the most difficult as lots of things are going through your head,” Purvis told “But when it comes to the final you can just go for it, so hopefully we can improve even more.”

The biggest sporting event on the planet, the 2016 Rio Olympic Games will take place in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil on August 5-21, 2016. 

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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Gymnastics: A Kid's Great Start Towards an Active Lifestyle

Kyle Shewfelt, a Canadian Olympic Floor gold medalist continues his quest of inspiring the next generation of gymnasts. However, Shewfelt doesn’t really mind if they’re aiming to hoard medals, his primary goal is for them to have fun

Yesterday, as a part of the gymnastics club's 2nd birthday celebration, Kyle Shewfelt Gymnastics offered a "$2 per person" training session for the kids aged 6 years old and under. There was a morning and an afternoon session, and both sessions were filled with young students together with their parents.
According to the parents, encouraging their child to do gymnastics will not only benefit their child, but will also benefit them. “I have three very energetic kids. So it’s just a place where they can burn off some energy.” Kendra Trim said.

They said that they’d rather see their child spend all of their energy learning gymnastics than to waste it by playing at home and messing up with the furnitures.

“Jumping on the couch and jumping on the bed and yeah, it at least gets her to get rid of some energy here for sure,” Joey Hands said while talking about her daughter.

Gymnastics is a sport that has been existing for more than 2000 years, but only a few number of gymnast have been able to surpass Shewfelt, an athlete considered as the most successful Canadian gymnast in history.

Despite having a competitive blood running through his veins, Shewfelt’s facility primarily focuses on the fun side of the sport.
(Photo Credits: Kyle Shewfelt Gymnastics)

“In order to get someone to the high performance level of sport, they have to fall in love with the sport at a young age. So for us, we thought…‘We’re going to focus on that foundation. We’re going to get as many kids as we can involved in the sport of gymnastics,” Shewfelt stated.

Joey Hand’s daughter has been a regular student of the Kyle Shewfelt Gymnastics, primarily because her daughter has been always an active and energetic kid.

“So she’s been climbing and climbing since she was really small and gymnastics is just such a good all around sport for coordination and body awareness,” said Hands.

“There’s so many kids that are static,” said Shewfelt, “that are just sitting on their Ipads, watching television and that’s just the nature of our world today. But the reality is that kids and people need to move their bodies.”

It is very important for any person, regardless of their age, to exercise and to continuously move their bodies. Besides, who doesn’t love to jump and play on the trampoline or the foam pit?
Yet, if Shewfelt sees that a child has the talent and the potential to be a great gymnast in the future, there is always an option to advance to the competitive level.

“We’ll gladly pass them along to someone else, where the coaching and facility are really catered to the high-performance side of the sport.”

Whichever path the kids take, whether they’re just doing gymnastics for fun or working to be a competitive gymnast, Shewfelt believes it’s all a swing to the right direction.

”I hear their laughter and their joy and the celebration when they learn something new and it really resonates with me. I can see a lot of myself in a lot of the kids that I see that walk through the doors.”
Following his retirement in the competition, Shewfelt dreamt of building Calgary’s leading non-competitive gymnastics club where everyone, regardless of their age and level in the sport, could enjoy and reap the benefits of training gymnastics in a fun, nurturing and supportive training environment.

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Friday, November 6, 2015

Uchimura's Secret To Success

Japanese gymnastics legend Kohei Uchimura proudly raised his hands and held up six fingers after winning his sixth-consecutive World all-around title at the World Artistic Gymnastics Championships last week.

“I wanted to show that just one hand is not enough (to count the number of World titles that I won).” Uchimura said. His words clearly shows his pride on remaining as the greatest gymnast of all time ever since he got his first World all-around title in 2009. Ever since, he has successfully defended his winning streak and has not suffered any losses in the individual all-around World competitions (including the 2012 Summer Olympics). That’s probably because he was endowed with all the traits required to become the “king of gymnastics”. 
Mitsuo Tsukahara, the Vice President of the Japanese Gymnastics Association, who owns a total of five Olympic gold medals, said, “There used to be quite a large number of champions about 170 centimeters."

He was pertaining to, for example, Vitaly Venediktovich Scherbo (169cm), a former Belarusian artistic gymnast who holds a record total of 23 World Championship medals. In comparison, Uchimura is 162 centimeters tall, giving the overall impression that he has a small body frame with bulging muscles. 

Hiroyuki Tomita, a member of International Gymnastic Federation’s (FIG) technical committee, said, "There are body types that are advantageous to compete in individual all-around world championships."

During the time of Scherbo, the gymnasts were focusing on improving the precision of their routines to attain the “Perfect 10” score. However, since the gymnastics scoring system was changed in 2006, gymnasts started competing for a combination of D-score (difficulty score), which is based on the difficulty of the gymnast’s exercise and performance and E-score (Execution score) which evaluates the preciseness and beauty of the performance. That means, the more difficult the routine is, the better the score the gymnast could obtain.
On the individual all-around competitions, the athletes are required to use their muscles in order to perform their routines. Male gymnasts, especially, use those bulging muscles in gymnastics events like the floor exercise, and the vault, which requires jumping power, horizontal bars that requires a strong core muscle, as well as the rings, which requires brute strength. The harder the technique the gymnast use, the greater the burden their bodies would suffer, increasing the likelihood of injury.

Despite being the qualifying event for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio De Janeiro, the top athletes of Brazil and U.S. failed to make it to the 2015 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Glasgow, because of existing physical injuries. Uchimura, on the other hand, was gifted with a physique that was more resistant from suffering the burdens on joints and muscles. As a matter of fact, “King Kohei” has never suffered any major injuries.

Japanese Gymnastics Federation’s Vice President Tsukahara said. “What gymnasts of today need is muscle endurance that is necessary to perform many difficult techniques.” 

The gymnast’s muscle endurance can be measured by observing their landing – the technique that the athletes are at the end of their performances – in the events such as horizontal bars. Considering that the gymnasts are using difficult routines (which tests the limits of their physical abilities) in the competitions that they take part in – they tend to get exhausted at the end of their performances. For that reason, only a small number of athletes were able to perform their routines as precise as it needs to be. On the other hand, mainly because of his excellent muscle endurance, Uchimura was able to hold his body in any position that he wants to.
Even after obtaining his third Olympic qualification, Uchimura said, "The Olympics are a different dimension. They won't go the same way as the world championships." Aside from his instinctive qualities, Uchimura also possesses an inquisitive mind to master the sport of gymnastics since he is more familiar with the struggles and hardships in gymnastics more than anyone else. Due to his amazing qualities, no one can tell if there is a limit on how far the “king of gymnastics” can go.

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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

World Gymnastics Championships filled with Record Breaking Events

Glasgow was filled with record-breaking events as Max Whitlock writes a new chapter in Britain’s sports history after obtaining the world title in the pommel horse finals, making him the first-ever British male athlete to win gold at a World Gymnastics Championships, while four female gymnasts shared the top of the podium after tying on the uneven bars finals.

Fan Yilin, Dario Spiridonova, Madison Kocian and Viktoria Komova finished their uneven bars routine with surprisingly same scores (15.366), resulting in an unexpected “four gold medalists” in the women’s individual apparatus finals.
That unprecedented event brought surprise and amusement to the audience and the four champions, who shared the crowded space at the peak of the medal podium, leaving the two bottom spaces empty.

The medal awarding ceremony was also prolonged as there were three national anthems (Russia, China, and USA) being played. The organizers also had to skip the flag raising ceremony since they can’t fit three national flags on one horizontal pole.

American gymnast Kocian depicted the incident as “super crazy”, while Chinese gymnast Fan Yilin said it was “hilarious”. Russia’s Spiridonova said: “Wow! I’ve never seen anything like this. I didn’t think anything like this would even be possible. It’s great that we are in this together and we will share the victory.”

Her teammate Komova added: "It was hard to deal with the nerves after they started to announce the results. I am personally shocked. It's the first time the judges had such a hard time deciding who the champion was."


Meanwhile, in the men’s apparatus finals, Whitlock has managed to surpass his compatriot’s score on the pommel horse event by a very tight margin. 

Smith executed a clean routine on the pommel horse to sit on the top of the scoreboard with a score of 16.033 until Whitlock, the last pommel horse competitor, outshone Smith’s performance to finish with a score of 16.133, just a tenth-of-a-point ahead of his compatriot’s score.
The British duo gazed on the giant scoreboard while waiting for Whitlock’s score, and when the score of 16.133 flashed up on the giant screen, Smith quickly grabbed their national flag to begin a double celebration.

"I had dreamed of this moment but never felt I would get emotional," said Whitlock, who also obtained a silver medal in the floor event finals behind Japanese superstar Kenzo Shirai.

"I can't believe it. I trained in the gym thousands and thousands of routines building up to this moment, so when you go clean like I did today, you can't express what you feel. I'm over the moon. It's been an amazing journey."


On the men’s floor exercise finals, Japanese Kenzo Shirai executed a routine filled with daring and high-flying acrobatics and ending it with a quadruple twisting somersault, earning him a second world title in 3 years.

A slight mistake on his third tumbling pass was not enough for Shirai to flinch as the Japanese floor exercise supremo was the only competitor to surpass the 16-point barrier after finishing with a score of 16.233.
"As I experienced defeat last year, I know the importance to keep improving. This time I was able to surprise everyone with my difficulty," he said.

Russian gymnast Maria Paseka outclassed most sought-after athlete Simone Biles and the vault defending champion Hong Un-jong with two soaring leaps to obtain the vault world title.

Paseka hit her landing on both of her vaults, an Amanar and a Cheng, to finish with an average total of 15.666. Korea’s Hong Un-jong took the silver medal while American superstar Biles earned bronze.

Paseka’s gold finish sparked a gold rush for Russia, which started the second-to-the-last day of Championships with none but ended the competition with three gold medals, thanks to Paseka, Komova and Spiridonova.

Meanwhile, Greek gymnast Elftherious Petrounias displayed a jaw dropping ring performance to secure the rings world title ahead of Chinese You Hao and 2014 rings defending champion Liu Yang.

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