Tuesday, December 20, 2016

New FIG World Cup To Be Held In Melbourne

Gymnastics Australia has confirmed today that International Gymnastics Federation’s (FIG) new World Cup Gymnastics is going to be held in Melbourne as a part of the 2017-2020 Olympic Cycle. The organization has successfully bid for one of the four stops on the Individual Apparatus World Cup four-year circuit along with Cottbus (Germany), Baku (Azerbaijan), and Doha (Qatar). The discipline included in this stop of the circuit are both men’s and women’s artistic gymnastics.

Later on in their Twitter account, Gymnastics Australia has also proudly announced that Aly Raisman, a member of Team USA’ Final Five, the team which garnered gold at the Rio Games, would be the official ambassador for the World Cup in Melbourne and will be in Australia for the events.


The mentioned events are a part of the 2016-2018 FIG Artistic Gymnastics Individual Apparatus World Cup Series. The first stop of the series has already been held in Cottbus, Germany, on November where the Hungarian gymnasts grabbed three of the 10 titles, the most of any nation.

In Australia, the events will be held in Hisense Arena on February 22-25, 2017. The first two days will be the qualifying and the last two days are for the finals. Across all these eight events in the 2016-2018 FIG Individual Apparatus World Cup series, the gymnasts will be given points based on their rankings on each apparatus at the different World Cup stops. The points from each gymnast’s best three finishes will be added to determine the World Cup series winner on that apparatus. The prize for the winner is 5,000 Swiss francs and will be awarded at the end of the series.

Additionally, the events hosted in 2019 and 2020 will be used as qualifying competitions for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

Reportedly, there are already 13 countries which confirmed their attendance to the 2017 Australian leg of the FIG Individual Apparatus World Cup Series.


Stay updated on the news about gymnastics by following our official Facebook page! Learn gymnastics from the best sports academy in Singapore, enroll today at Bianka Panova Sport and Art Academy! Join us and learn gymnastics for kids with us!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Familiarizing the Rhythmic Gymnastics Events

As a parent who is new to gymnastics and wants to learn more of it, maybe because you are thinking about letting your kid join the sport, you probably have some misunderstanding of it. Most people think of artistic gymnastics when they hear the word “gymnastics.” This is not entirely wrong, but there is also another kind, which is rhythmic gymnastics. In this article, we are going to help and make you knowledgeable in this unique sport.

In rhythmic gymnastics, there are five pieces of equipment. These set of equipment are also called “events” because they are performed one at a time. One performance cannot use two or more equipment. Every two years, the International Gymnastics Federation (FIG), who is the governing body for Gymnastics worldwide, designates four of the apparatus to be used, and the other to be set aside for two years.

Before explaining what these events are, let us first get familiar with the floor.


The Floor

Accompanied by music from 75 to 90 seconds, every single rhythmic event is performed on a floor mat which has a measurement of about 42.5 feet by 42.5 feet. The floor for artistic gymnastics is different from that of rhythmic gymnastics. For rhythmic, the floor doesn’t have the same amount of spring or padding compared to the artistic floor, as per the request of rhythmic gymnasts. According to most, it is much easier to perform the skills required on a floor without spring and padding.

Aside from the events, there are also exercises done on the floor and without any apparatus. This event is only on the introductory levels of competition in the United States and abroad where it is a compulsory routine. It won’t be seen at the Olympics and other international competitions.


The Events

1) Ribbon – This apparatus is a single strip made of satin or a non-starched material, about 6.5 yards long and 1.5 to 2.3 inches wide. The ribbon is attached to a stick made of wood or synthetic materials that is 19.5 to 23.4 inches long and .4 inches wide.

2) Rope – The rope is measured proportional to the height of the gymnast and is made out of hemp or synthetic material.

3) Hoop – This apparatus is made of either wood or plastic and is 31 to 35 inches in its interior diameter.

4) Clubs – The clubs has the same length, which is about 16 to 20 inches long. They are made from wood or synthetic material and should weight about 5.2 ounces each for easier handling.

5) Ball – The ball must be made from rubber or synthetic materials and should also be 7 to 7.8 inches in diameter. Neon-colored balls are not allowed and the only patterns approved on the ball are geometric patterns.

To know how these apparatuses are used, watch Bianka Panova herself perform on each here:



To read more fitness and gymnastics-related articles, visit our educational blogs. Experience a fun and imaginative gymnastics training, come and enroll today at Bianka Panova Sport and Art Academy :)

Monday, November 28, 2016

How to Get Over a Block

On a previous article, we have discussed briefly the important things we needed to know about blocks in gymnastics and the different reasons why this phenomenon happens. To refresh our knowledge, here is the article: What is a Block in Gymnastics?

Now that we know what blocks are and why it happens, it’s about time that we learn HOW to get past it. It has been mentioned that the gymnast herself who is suffering from a block doesn’t have any conscious control over it, but there are ways that could help the gymnast and here are some of them:


1. Talk to the coach

- First thing to do when one has a block is talk to her coach. Almost all gymnast encounter a mental block during her entire career, so chances are the coach have already seen this happen many other times. The gymnast should be honest about what she feels and what she is experiencing so the coach would understand. Work with the coach and create a plan about how the gymnast can get comfortable with the skill.

2. Visualize

- Once a plan has been worked out with the coach, the nest step is to visualize the skill. The gymnast should mentally imagine that she is doing the skill. The more detail, the better. She should find which part of the skill scares her the most and give emphasize on it. Repeat the part over and over again in her head. Also, she can try doing the hand and foot movements without actually performing it while her eyes are closed, still visualizing the skill.

Now on an instance that she can’t visualize herself performing the routine, she could watch a video over and over again until she could picture herself doing it.


3. Advancements

- Once the gymnast has visualized enough that she thinks she can do it even in her sleep, she should try going back to the last skill she was able to do successfully. Repeat it multiple times until she’s gained confidence that she has once again regained her footing in gymnastics. Once she’s confident enough, she should then try doing the skill that scared her. Try it while the coach spots, on stacked mats, or into a pit or resi. Keep doing the skill many times until she feels ready to increase the level of difficulty. Remove a mat one at a time or have the coach spot less and less.

4. Keep at it

- The gymnast must be patient with herself, as well as the coach with their student. She can and she will get the skill back, it’s just a matter of figuring out how to get her mind on track. She must keep working on different methods and she’ll eventually get there, just don’t give up!

Listed here are just a few ways that could help a gymnast going through a block. However, it should be kept in mind that these ways doesn’t have instantaneous results, because this is a continuous process. If it didn’t work on the first time, continue doing it a few more times.

To read more gymnastics-related articles, visit our educational blogs. Experience a fun and imaginative gymnastics training, come and enroll today at Bianka Panova Sport and Art Academy :)

Monday, November 21, 2016

USA Gymnastics National Team Starts Four-year Training Cycle

Due to a scheduling error at the USA Gymnastics National Team’s normal training site at Karolyi Ranch in Huntsville, Texas, the team ended up practicing and holding their first post-Olympic camp at Midwest Training and Ice Center over the weekend.

The national team’s quadrennial began last Thursday. Quadrennial is a four-year training cycle done in preparation for the 2020 Olympic Games. The members from the Trampoline and Tumbling Senior National Team, Senior National Development Team, and Junior National Team were all training together, and among them were 2016 Olympic trampolinists Logan Dooley and Nicole Ahsinger.


Before they were Olympians, the two trampolinists went through hard times like everyone else. Ahsinger was beaten by teammate Shalyee Dunavin in the USA Gymnastics Championships and she was afraid that she wouldn’t make it into the 2016 Olympics team. As luck would have it, Ahsinger garnered two Olympic selection points from the 2016 Elite Challenge and this helped push her score over Dunavin’s to claim a spot on the Olympic team.

Ahsinger was recorded to be saying that she watched the scores go up and thought to herself that she might have just done it, and when she told her mother, the older woman started crying. This selection into the 2016 Olympics made her the only female US Olympic trampoline athlete, and together with teammate Dooley they are the only two US Olympic trampoline athletes in Rio.


Logan Dooley also came from behind. He used to be an alternate for the 2008 and 2012 Olympic teams before he was the only male US trampoline athlete in Rio. Unluckily, he placed 11th in the qualification round and did not reach the finals. However, Dooley had the best Olympic finish in Team USA’s history for a male trampoline athlete. This motivates him to return to the 2020 Olympics by training harder.

Last Thursday’s camp is the beginning of a four-day program including newcomers and elitists. According to Catherine Cabral-Marotta, High Performance Director of the USA Gymnastics Trampoline and Tumbling Program, the theme of the four-day camp was foundations because wherever an athlete’s skillset lies, the basics still have to be studied.

“The idea that we want to achieve at this camp is a lot of mental performance and goal setting,” Cabral-Marotta said.

In a performance sport like gymnastics, athletes learn to only compete with themselves and are taught to train their hardest and outdo themselves every year. These are some of the first lessons taught at camp.

Stay updated on the news about gymnastics by following our official Facebook page! Learn gymnastics from the best sports academy in Singapore, enroll today at Bianka Panova Sport and Art Academy! Join us and learn gymnastics for kids with us!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Do You Know What Ingredients to Avoid Feeding Your Child?




A few articles in our blogs have already tackled what are the best foods you should allow your athletic kid to eat and what could help develop his muscles and reduce fat. All over the internet, there are also countless materials talking about this, but do we really know what food ingredient we should avoid?

(Also read: Nutritional Needs of Young Athletes)

All around the places there are confusing articles saying one should eat this and shouldn’t eat that. The media further confuses people as one day they are talking about the disadvantages of fats, then the next day they would say that carbs are great for the body.

Food manufacturers also add to this muddle by printing misleading labels and bogus health claims. It had started to look like the whole system is set up to confuse and frustrate us into buying the latest and greatest packaged food.

But really, what ingredients are harmful to your young athlete’s health?

Listed below are the four ingredients you should avoid diligently.







1. White Flour

-White flour is a result of the processing of natural whole wheat until it is stripped off of nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Basically, once this happened an ingredient is nutritionally void already. White flour is also packed with calories that release quickly into your child’s system, creating a spike in blood sugar and leads to hunger and ravings. A good alternative to this is whole wheat.






2. White Sugar

-Once again, this is a result of a sugar cane plant that underwent an intensive refining process. By refining a sugar cane, all of the enzymes fiber, vitamins and minerals are destroyed. Aside from weight gain, white sugar has been linked to weakened immune system, ADD, hyperactivity, mental and emotional disorders.







3. High Fructose Corn Syrup
-This is another form of sweetener, but man-made. It is derived from genetically modified corn. It promotes hysterical hunger, fat storage, and spikes your child’s blood sugar levels. HFCS is found in many mainstream products like cereals, crackers, ice cream, salad dressing, energy bars, and soft drinks.







4. Aspartame

-Yet again, aspartame is an artificial sweetener that was denied by the FDA 8 times before being approved in 1973. It is said to promote cravings for foods high in calories and carbohydrates as it stows away sugar. When sugar is not available, the result is hypoglycemia and severe hunger.

These are just some of the ingredients a child should avoid. Read more fitness and gymnastics-related articles by visiting our educational blogs. Experience a fun and imaginative gymnastics training, come and enroll today at Bianka Panova Sport and Art Academy :)

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Common Gymnastics Injuries and How to Avoid Them



Gymnastics is a very demanding sport that needs to start when a child is still young, while her body is still soft and developing. Aspiring professional gymnasts undergo years of severe training to make their bodies flexible and gain an amazing balance on the floor, beam, bars, or rings.

A gymnast jumps and lands on her feet or hands, runs, dismounts, swings, flips and do all sorts of body expressions. She uses the whole of her body in a routine with a tremendous force, from sole to the tip of her fingers, causing stress on the shoulders, elbows, wrists and hands.

It is because of this intense training that gymnasts are prone to injuries. Their muscles, joints, ligaments and tendons are stressed for years. Their kind of training makes small wears and tears on a young gymnast’s body, and through the years they accumulate.

Your child might look healthy now, but later on small injuries might start occurring. It is important that you, as a parent, know what to watch out for and, if it did happen, know what to do about it.


Common Gymnastic Injuries

1. Sprained ankles – These are due to floor routines or falls from the balance beam or parallel bars. If the ankle rolls outward while the foot rolls inward, it can cause ligaments outside the ankle to stretch and tear.

2. Achilles Tendonitis – This is another foot injury. The Achilles tendon is just above the back of the heel and can be injured because of repetitive stress of jumping and landing. This injury is the Achilles Tendonitis, where the tendon is swollen and painful.

3. Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injury – An ACL injury occurs when a gymnast lands short or is over-rotated when tumbling, dismounting or vaulting. The ACL is found on the knee, providing stability, and can rupture when twisted suddenly under high forces.

4. Spondylolysis – This is a back injury caused by strains and breaks. It occurs in a specific part of one or more vertebrae.

5. Herniated Discs – This happens when the lumbar segments become misaligned, putting pressure on the nerves of the spinal cord.

6. Wrist Sprains – The wrist is the most heavily used part of the body in gymnastics and a constant strain to this part of the body lead to sprains, tears or tendonitis.


Prevent or Cure Injuries

As much as possible, it is best to prevent the injuries listed above. On how to avoid injuries, read: Protect Your Young Gymnast From Injuries

However, if an injury did happen, almost all hospitals offer physical therapies. Therapists will work with the injured to reduce pain and get them back on the bars and mat as soon as possible.



Get updated on all important health information by following the posts on our Facebook Page. Looking for a fun and exciting way to learn gymnastics? Then come and enroll atBianka Panova Sport and Art Academy today :) Come and learn gymnastics for kids with us!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

What You Need To Know About Concussions

Concussion is one of the most serious risks to young athletes. Kids’ body, at a young age, is still developing and therefore weaker than an adult’s. Whether the athlete plays football, hockey, soccer, baseball or any number of other sports that uses force or requires vigorous physical activities, a serious hit to the head or a repeated mild force causes a concussion, which manifest itself in different symptoms.

The Centers for Disease Control defines concussion as a brain injury that affects how our brain works and it happens even when the person who has a concussion haven’t been knocked unconscious.


The symptoms for this injury vary from person to person and with each injury, but the common symptoms include:

•Headache

•Confusion

•Nausea or vomiting

•Difficulty remembering or paying attention

•Balance problems or dizziness

•Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy or groggy

•Slowed reaction time

•Sleep problems

•Double or blurry vision

•Bothered by light or noise


If you think your kid have a concussion, they should not be allowed to return to play on the day of the injury and should be brought immediately to the doctor. Playing with concussion increases the risk of repeat concussions, and these take longer to recover, causing a delay to your kid’s return to play. Repeat concussions in young athletes could also result to brain swelling or permanent damage to the brain, could even be fatal.


Get updated on all important health information by following the posts on our Facebook Page. Looking for a fun and exciting way to learn gymnastics? Then come and enroll atBianka Panova Sport and Art Academy today :) Come and learn gymnastics for kids with us!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Decorated Gymnast Lauren Mitchell Retreats

Australia’s most decorated gymnast, Lauren Mitchell, has announced her retirement which she decided during a recent trip to Europe.

The 25-year-old is only the second Australian woman gymnast to win medals at World Championships, but the first to ever win gold. She made history in 2010 when she became Australia’s first female World Gymnastics Champion on floor in Rotterdam. She is also two-time Olympian, and a 2009 World Championship silver medalist on balance beam and floor.

Mitchell has had multiple successes in a career she started when she was six, but in June 2015 she suffered what might just be the biggest challenge to her career yet. She was withdrawn from the upcoming 2015 World Universaide due to a serious knee injury that occurred during a training session. She was working on her floor routine when she sustained a ruptured ACL, adding to her ankle problems.

Nine months after this injury, she went back to training and even almost qualified for the Rio Olympics. However, Australia failed to qualify for the team event, leaving just one individual spot available for Rio. It was because of her knee injury that Mitchell’s chances to be chosen for that spot were slim, and Larrissa Miller was instead chosen.

On a recent interview, Mitchell said that tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee and missing out on a spot at the Rio Games were two of the hardest times of her glittering career.



The Real Reason For Mitchell’s Retirement

Indeed, those were trying times. However, Mitchell said that those weren’t the reasons for her retirement, or the recent announcement that the WAIS gymnastics program would be axed. Even the lure of competing at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in 2018 wasn’t enough to spur her on.

Mitchell revealed that, "It would have been an amazing experience to compete in front of a home crowd. […]But I don't think mentally I would be able to push myself to be good enough to be able to make the team again. I've given everything that I could have to the sport, and I have no regrets. Mentally I couldn't have pushed anymore.”



Mitchell’s Future Plans

“I love the sport of gymnastics and I will still be involved in some way, shape or form.”

After her retirement, Mitchell plans to start mentoring the younger athletes and start motivational speaking not only to inspire the next generation of elite athletes, but also to inspire people in their daily lives.

“I’d love to give back to the community when they have given me so much,” she said.

Despite Australia’s failure to have an artistic gymnastics team in the Olympics for the first time in 30 years, Mitchell believed that there was a bright future for the sport nationally. She believed that there was amazing talent throughout Australia and if they can harness that talent and put it all together, they would go really well.

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Friday, September 16, 2016

Former Rhythmic Gymnastics Olympians Surrender Athletic Careers for Degrees

World-renowned Olympic rhythmic gymnasts Alisa Kano and Natalie McGiffert have both aimed for Olympic gold medals before, but it seems like their goal has already changed, and now they’re focused on getting degrees as full-time students at Loyola.

21-year-old Alisa and 19-year-old McGiffert were both part of the American Rhythmic Gymnastics National Team, which advanced to the Olympic competition in Rio de Janeiro after beating Brazil – the host country of the 2016 Games – at the 2015 World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany.


The win earned them a qualification spot for the Rio Olympic Games. It was a historic achievement for the U.S., as it served as the first earned Olympic spot in rhythmic gymnastics team competition. The national team was filled with joy after knowing about the qualification.

“We finished our ribbon routine and we were so happy with how we did that we were crying of happiness,” Alisa said excitedly. “We were so happy we finished a clean routine and everyone else thought we were crying because we qualified [for the 2016 Olympics], but we had no idea.”

Group rhythmic gymnastics is a gymnastics discipline which has a distinct resemblance to synchronized swimming. Alisa explained that it is a combination of gymnastics, dance and ballet with apparatus work. The athletes perform leaps and turns while maintaining full control of their apparatuses. The sport focuses on flexibility and elegance instead of flipping, which is a bigger factor in other disciplines of gymnastics.

After the 2016 Rio Olympics came to an end, Kano and McGiffert both realized it was time to retire. 

“There was such a huge chapter of our life that was gymnastics,” said McGiffert. “There comes a time where you get to the highest point you can reach and you need to move on.”

With their days practicing in the gym long gone, Alisa and Natalie moved on to Loyola, refusing to grab the opportunity to perform with their teammates on the Kellogg’s Tour, which is a national tour that features various elements from both artistic and rhythmic gymnastics disciplines.

“You need to discipline yourself with the transition,” Alisa explained. “Being a gymnast, we never had any homework. Homework and studying is a lot different than training.”

Both athletes have gone through massive changes for the sake of the sport. They both recalled the adversity they’ve gone through when they decided to compete at a professional level.


“We’ve made a lot of sacrifices. I moved from New York and [Natalia] moved from California. We changed our whole lives to come to Chicago and train for the team,” told Kano. “It was a big change in my life.”

McGiffert expressed her excitement now she has a lot more free time to spend. She’s looking forward to making plans with her friends and not having to work them in around her hectic training schedule. 

Kano, currently a psychology major, said she’s looking forward to having a professional career in physical therapy. McGiffert haven’t decided yet which course to take, but she plans to pursue a major in social work. Despite not having any plans to come back to their athletic careers, they still plan to return to visit their old gym. 

Both gymnasts plan to make the same approach on their academics as what they did on their gymnastics training – with determination and focus.

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Monday, September 12, 2016

Ballet, Dancing Affects Emotional Sensitivity, Study Suggests

According to a recent study, dancers are proven to be more empathetic and emotionally sensitive compared to the rest of us. 

According to the research published recently in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, short video clips were presented to two sets of people: a group of professional ballet dancers, and a group of subjects with no dance experience. The video clips were silent, black and white, just a few seconds long, and the faces of the dancers were blurred, which made the facial expressions unrecognizable. With no other factors to base on other than the shapes of the moving bodies, the two sets of control group were asked to rate their emotional response base on what they saw on the short footage, whether they find them to be happy or sad.

ballet dance

The emotional response of the control groups were measured by the electrodes worn on their fingertips, which demonstrated that the ballet dancers had a much stronger emotional reactions on the footage compared to the other control group.

“The very cool thing about this study is that the dancers not only recognized the emotions better, but their bodies would also response more sensitively to the displayed emotional movements,” said Julia Christensen, the lead author of the research. “Dancers’ bodies differentiated between different emotions that were expressed in the clips, where the controls didn’t.”

Apparently, this is probably what we would expect from someone who has expertise in what they’re watching. That exactly is the point, Christensen pointed out.

What does this imply? It basically suggests that practicing the physical expressions made the dancers more sensitive to them. And this indicates one interesting thing, emotional sensitivity can be trained. In other words, there is a possibility that our bodies can be trained to be more empathetic through dance and other physical activities. 

dance ballet

Christensen believes that the study shows “why everyone should dance. Our research indicates that dance training might be a way to make you more aware of emotions.”

“You could even hypothesize that dance makes you more empathetic,” she says, “because it seems that you learn to react automatically and more sensitively to others’ expressions.” But this still needs to be studied further, she added.

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Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Son Yeon Jae to Perform at Rhythmic All Stars 2016 with 2016 Olympic Champions

South Korean rhythmic gymnastics star Son Yeon Jae is scheduled to perform with the most renowned and top performing rhythmic gymnasts, including the 2016 Olympic Games champion, at the All-stars rhythmic gymnastics gala show to be held in Korea next week (September 16-17), her agency confirmed Tuesday.

Galaxia SM, Son Yeon Jae’s sports management agency announced that Son, together with Margarita Mamun – the Russia rhythmic gymnast who acquired the individual all-around gold at the Rio Olympic Games, will perform at a gymnastics gala event named “Rhythmic All Stars 2016”. The said event will take place at the Goyang Gymnasium in Gyeonggi Province. 

Son Yeon Jae Gala

According to Son’s management agency, Russia’s Aleksandra Soldatova, the world’s third best rhythmic gymnast, will also perform alongside Son and Mamun in Goyang. Other world-class rhythmic gymnastics athletes, such as Melitina Staniouta and Katsiaryna of Belarus, as well as Kseniya Moustafaeva of France, will also appear at the event.

At the Olympic competition in Rio de Janeiro, the South Korean gymnast acquired the top 4 spot in the individual All-around final after obtaining a total score of 72.898 points from the four apparatus event. Staniouta acquired the fifth spot at 71.133, while Halkina took the sixth spot with 70.932 points. Moustafaeva acquired the tenth spot.

Aleksandra Soldatova was not present at the Rio Olympic Games because of the competition’s two-per-country rule. Margarita Mamun and Yana Kudryavtseva were the two gymnasts who represented Russia, and won the gold and silver medal, respectively.

Galaxia SM also announced that the Italian rhythmic gymnastics team, who clinched the fourth spot in the group all-around competition in Rio, will also be present in Goyang.

Rhythmic All Stars 2016

Son plans to use songs of different genres at her performance in Goyang, which includes K-pop and ballet.

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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Simone Biles to Part Ways with her Longtime Coach Aimee Boorman

When Simone Biles won five medals (four of which are gold) at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, there was one woman who always stood by her side. Many might not have noticed her, but Aimee Boorman, Simone’s coach of 11 years, was on the sidelines supporting her and giving her proper guidance. 

Boorman has been Simone’s personal coach for more than a decade and is no doubt the driving force behind the Olympic success of the 19-year-old gymnast.


On Monday, Aimee Boorman mentioned that she was about to leave the World Champions Centre, the 56,000 square feet gymnastics facility in Spring, Texas, owned by Simone’s parents, Ron and Nellie Biles.

The reason behind the end of their coach-gymnast relationship isn’t down to the differences between the pair. Boorman’s husband has been offered a job opportunity in Florida, causing the family to move out of Houston.

Boorman mentioned that it will not only be an opportunity for her husband, but for herself also. She will now work as the executive director of women’s gymnastics at Evo Athletics in Sarasota, Florida.

“My vision for what a gymnastics facility should be is reflected in Evo,” Boorman stated. “Not only having world-class equipment and staff, but the dedication to exceeding the needs of all members of the Evo family, athletes, their families’ coaches and staff while providing a platform for developing young athletes to reach their great potential.”

Simone Biles, who has trained under Boorman since she was eight, has experienced the fruit of her coaching. Ever since, the two trained together every day for years. Boorman’s outstanding coaching skills led the young gymnast to three world all-around championship titles and four U.S. All-around gold medals.

Coach Aimee Boorman and Simone Biles

The 19-year-old American gymnast will take a brief break for now before deciding whether or not to return to the sport.

“We were both sad, but Biles understands that life moves on and she knows that if she plans to continue in gymnastics… I will always be willing to coach her,” Boorman stated. “I will be there as a mentor.”

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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Simone Biles’ Outstanding Performances in Rio Boosts Gymnastics’ Popularity

Several gymnastics facilities across the United States have reported a significant surge in enrollment after the gold medal-winning performances of the 19-year-old gymnast Simone Biles at the competition recently ended in Rio last week.

According to the owner of the Klub Gymnastics in Los Angeles, Michael Eschenbrenner, the Summer Olympics usually brings a 20% boost in the amount of gymnastics newcomers in their facility. But this year, “it’s going to be at least that because of the whole Simone Biles amazingness.”

Simone Biles and the USA Gymnastics Team

Simone Biles has been one of the most successful gymnastics in the U.S., having won a total of 4 individual Olympic gold medals and one bronze despite being a first time competitor in the Summer Olympic Games. She also owns a large number of World Championships titles, which adds up to her huge collection of gymnastics achievements.

Her success in the sport encouraged the young generation to try out the sport themselves. Watching her perform stunning routines in the Rio Olympic Arena inspired young gymnastics aspirants to be just like her someday.

Normally, the post-Olympics surge doesn’t come until the summer session ends and the school starts. But that clearly have changed this season, with more than 1,400 weekly enrollees at Klub Gymnastics – “higher than we’ve ever been,” says Eschenbrenner.

There is typically a surge in enrollment after an Olympic Games,” said USA Gymnastics’ spokeswoman, Jennifer Teitell. “For example, the women’s program had over 16,000 new athletes in 2012-2013 which was a 22% growth over the previous year.”

Names such as Simone Biles and Aly Raisman have encouraged a generation to try out gymnastics, a sport that’s often overlooked outside the Olympic season.


“Gymnastics is one of the most popular Olympic sports. All the kids are watching it, they see that and decide that’s what they want to do,” a coach in a gymnastics facility in Huntington said. 

After witnessing her impressive performances in the 2016 Rio Olympics, everyone suddenly wants to be just like Simone Biles.

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Monday, August 15, 2016

Son Yeon Jae arrives in Rio for the Rhythmic Gymnastics Competition

Korean rhythmic gymnastics star Son Yeon-jae has finally arrived in Rio de Janeiro on Monday after her training in Sao Paolo to compete at the Rhythmic Gymnastics competition in the 2016 Rio Olympics. 

The 22-year-old gymnast will compete in three rhythmic apparatus events (ball, hoop, clubs and ribbon). Each of her gymnastics routines will take approximately 90 seconds to finish, but that six minutes of her life would be the climax of her 17-year gymnastics career.


Son was only ranked 32nd after she made her debut in the senior circuit during the 2010 World Championships. However, she did not let it discourage her and instead used it as an inspiration to improve herself further. She challenged herself by participating in Russia’s Novogorsk Training Center, a facility filled with the world’s top performing rhythmic gymnasts.

The competition was fierce in the facility where the athletes had to line up in order of performance records even for ballet warm-up. Son, who has been at the end of the line at the beginning of her training, has endured great challenge (over 10 hours per day) for six years. With her extreme dedication and hard work, she eventually moved up to the front.

When asked whether she still wants to engage in the sport of rhythmic gymnastics if she was to be reborn, the 22-year-old nodded without hesitation. 


The South Korean athlete, without a doubt, has greatly improved over the recent years. In the previous World Cup cycle, the 22-year-old gymnast consistently broke her own personal record in every competition, and even won at least one medal in each of them.

As she arrived in Rio de Janeiro, she carried with her the dream of becoming the first Korean gymnast to win an Olympic gold medal. Should she achieve her ultimate dream in this competition, it would be marked as a historic achievement in Korea’s sports history.

The rhythmic gymnastics individual all-around qualifications in Rio will begin on August 19 at the Rio Olympic Arena. The competition will continue on Saturday (August 20) with the individual All-around finals and on Sunday (August 21), with the team All-around finals.

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Monday, August 8, 2016

US Men’s Artistic Team Qualifies for Olympic Gymnastics Finals

The U.S. men’s artistic gymnastics team is headed to the Olympic gymnastics team finals on Monday after posting an impressive score of 270.405 on the qualifying rounds on Saturday, boasting the second best score behind the Chinese team.

China earned 270.461 points in the qualification rounds to win the top spot ahead of the Americans, while Russia settled on the third spot with 269.612. 

U.S. Men's Artistic Gymnastics Team

Japan, Britain, Brazil ranked behind the Russians to complete the list of the team final qualifiers, along with Ukraine and Germany.

The American team dominated the competition through their subdivision, but unfortunately, Saturday was a day full of flaws for the men’s national team.

At the Rio Olympic Arena on Saturday, the U.S. men’s team captain Chris Brooks messed up his Vault routine, lost his balance and fell off the Pommel Horse, and had some error on the high bar. Jake Dalton landed short and low on the Vault event. Sam Mikulak also fell off the pommel horse. And Alex Naddour stepped out of bounds on the Floor routine.

Despite their flaws, the U.S. men’s team still had some outstanding performances. Mikulak and Dalton acquired a score of 15.800 and 15.600 on the Floor exercise, respectively, bragging the two highest scores of the day. 

Danell Leyva obtained the team’s best scores on the Parallel Bar and high bar. In addition, the performance of Alex Naddour on the Pommel Horse achieved the highest score for the Americans.

Sam Mikulak’s score in the All-around (89.041) has earned him the seventh place and a qualification spot for the finals on Wednesday. 

Brooks acquired a total score of 88.631 to achieve the 19th place in the All-around and qualify for the finals. The top 24 All-around performers will proceed to the finals. 

The U.S. men’s national team will need to fine-tune their performances to stand a chance for an Olympic team medal on Monday. China and Japan have been the most competitive countries in the artistic gymnastics discipline in the recent years, and Britain and Russia are expected to compete for an Olympic medal as well.

USA Gymnastics


Aside from the All-around qualification that Mikulak and Brooks had earned, a number of U.S. artistic gymnasts had also earned qualification spots in the event finals later next week. 

In the apparatus event finals, Mikulak will compete against other contenders in the Floor and High Bar finals, while Leyva will participate in the High Bar and Parallel Bar finals. Dalton will take part on the Floor exercise, and Naddour will compete on the Pommel Horse. 

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Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Laura Halford Grabs Two Titles at British Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships

Three-time senior British Champion Laura Halford has successfully won two individual gold medals at the 2016 British Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships held last weekend. 

The young British gymnast impressed the judges to acquire the Clubs and Ribbon titles at the Echo Arena in Liverpool last Sunday, in addition with silver medals in the other two individual events (hoop and ball).


The victories came after she failed to defend her All-around British title the previous day, an award which she had consistently achieved for the past three years. 

Halford had to settle for the third spot, and it was her former club mate, Stephani Sherlock, who who was crowned the senior All-around British champion. The silver medal was won by Llanelli’s Gemma Frizelle.

Sherlock herself cannot believe the outcome of the competition, but she felt overjoyed with the results.

“I just feel so, so happy and so grateful for all the people who have supported me and believed in me, and who knew I could do it,” said Sherlock after the competition last weekend. 

“It’s been so hard and a long journey towards this medal – it means so much to me.”

Laura Halford missed the chance to make a gold medal sweep in the opening event on Saturday as she could only make a score of 13.250 in the Ball, almost 3 points behind the top performer’s score. 


Laura said: “Overall I’m happy. I didn’t have a very good start and I was disappointed with my performance but glad I showed determination to come through on the second day.”

“I just wish I’d shown it all the way through the competition.”

Laura, who is currently taking Sport and Exercise Science at Cardiff Metropolitan University, memorably acquired the team silver at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and bronze in the individual All-around and Ball events. 

She acquired her latest titles soon after acquiring the Welsh rhythmic gymnastics gold in Cardiff for the third consecutive time in July, where she also acquired three out of the four individual apparatus titles, winning the gold in the Hoop, Ball and Ribbon apparatuses. 

Laura added: “It’s been a really hard year; I’ve had a few good competitions but quite a few where I’ve not shown my full potential.”

“My coaches have been pleased with my improvements but I’m disappointed I can’t show it in competitions.”


She is now aiming to further boost her medal collection at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, which will be held on the Gold Coast of Australia. 

“If I’m selected I hope to repeat my successes,” said Laura “hopefully to claim an All-around medal and get a few more in the individual finals. “

Laura is currently enjoying her two week break before she proceeds to a training camp in Barcelona to further refine her routines ahead of the 2017 season. 

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Thursday, July 28, 2016

Russia’s Partial Ban to Have a Minimal Effect on South Korea’s Rhythmic Gymnastics

The decision of the International Olympic Committee not to impose a blanket ban on Russia from the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio will most likely have a little impact on the medal race of the South Korean athletes.

On Sunday, the International Olympic Committee has decided to deny the calls from the athletes and anti-doping agencies to ban all the Russian athletes from the Olympic Games due to the alleged state-sponsored doping in the country. The IOC instead passed the decision to individual sports federations.


According to the president of the IOC, Thomas Bach, the international sports governing bodies will have the full authority to disqualify athletes who will be proven guilty of the doping scheme.  

Some of the international sports federation has already started to test the eligibility of their athletes. Due to the rampant doping in the track and field event, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has already decided to ban the Russian team from the sport. Meanwhile, the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) issued a one-year suspension on Russia in June.

The South Korean athletes, however, is not expected to compete in those sports, and will only compete against Russia on those sports where the country is less likely to be banned, thus minimizing the impact of the IOC’s decision.

A blanket ban will most likely have a huge impact in rhythmic gymnastics, where Russia has a lot of competitive athletes. The absence of the two Russian rhythmic stars, three-time World All-around Champion Yana Kudryavtseva and two-time World All-around silver medalist Margarita Mamun, would have made Korea’s Son Yeon Jae the second highest-ranking gymnast in Rio behind Ukraine’s Ganna Rizatdinova, giving the Korean a chance to take home the country’s first rhythmic gymnastics Olympic medal.

Unfortunately for the South Koreans, but doping is almost non-existent in the sport, which means that the Russian athletes are less likely to be excluded in this event. Russia’s best rhythmic gymnast, Yana Kudryavtseva, will take this special opportunity to win her first Olympic title.


But the presence of the Russian gymnasts at the Olympic Games doesn’t mean that the medal podium is out of South Korea’s reach. Son Yeon Jae, South Korea’s top-performing gymnast is well known for displaying impressive performances in each of her appearances, allowing her to break her personal records at a consistent rate. We don’t know for sure how much she has improved by now, so be ready to be surprised at the Rio Olympic Games.

The 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio will take place in Rio de Janeiro from August 5 to 21, 2016.

Be updated with the most relevant news regarding the upcoming 2016 Olympic Games and gymnastics by following our official blogs and social media sites. Enroll today at Bianka Panova Sport and Art Academy and experience the most fun and exciting way to learn gymnastics for kids J

Friday, July 22, 2016

Azerbaijan Boosts Competence in Gymnastics

Over the past few years, Azerbaijan has made a pretty huge step towards the development of gymnastics in the country. Several of their national gymnasts have managed to participate and display strong performances in various international competitions. Moreover, the country has a history of hosting a number of big sporting events.

Noha Abou Shabana, a technical delegate of the International Gymnastics Federation, has witnessed the development of the sport in the country. She noted that Azerbaijan has become really serious towards the progress of gymnastics in the country that it has managed to establish its own competitive school.

Dress Rehearsal of the Opening Ceremony
Dress Rehearsal of the FIG World Cup Final's Opening Ceremony

She also mentioned that Azerbaijan is more than ready to host the FIG World Cup Final in Rhythmic Gymnastics. She noted that the country has great experience in organizing competitions and their organizers are truly an expert in their field. 

The National Gymnastics Arena in Baku is very well prepared to host the competition, Abou Shabana said, adding that the organizers and the Gymnastics Federation of Azerbaijan have done an impressive work. 

The FIG Technical Delegate mentioned that the country has already managed to develop its own basis; it has a very competitive gymnastics school and only few countries have such facilities with excellent conditions. 

FIG World Cup Final’s Opening Ceremony to Feature Azerbaijan’s Beauties


The athletes and audiences will have the opportunity to witness the natural attractions of Azerbaijan as the national gymnasts aim to exhibit the country’s beauties at the opening ceremony of the FIG World Cup Final in Rhythmic Gymnastics in Baku. 

“We would like to display Azerbaijan’s beauties at the opening ceremony,” said Mariana Vasileva, the country’s national head coach and the director of the competition’s opening ceremony.

Mariana Vasileva

“Most of our guest have been to Baku before and have seen its beauties,” Vasileva said. “There are many places in Azerbaijan which are worth seeing.”

She mentioned that the opening ceremony’s composition is based on the novella “The Little Prince”, which is written by Antoine de Saint-Exupery.

“The composition will last 20 minutes and will be accompanied by Azerbaijani national music,” she said. 

The FIG World Cup Final in Rhythmic Gymnastics will be held in Baku, Azerbaijan on July 22-24, giving the national crowd a chance to witness the strong performances of the participants two weeks before the start of the Rio Olympics. 

A total of 26 gymnasts and 9 teams will participate at the first two days of the competition to fight for the all-around medals. The apparatus event finals will take place on the event’s last day.

The first day of the competition will feature a magnificent opening ceremony, directed by the national head coach Mariana Vasileva, followed by the traditional Gala on the final day of the competition in Baku.

Keep up with the latest news and updates in the world of gymnastics by following our official blog sites. Learn gymnastics for kids in the most fun and exciting way, come and enroll today here at Bianka Panova Sport and Art Academy! :)

Friday, July 15, 2016

Laura Halford Takes Home Third Consecutive National Title

For a third year in a row, the 20-year-old British rhythmic gymnast Laura Halford has achieved another victory at the Welsh Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships held at the Sport Wales National Center last weekend.

She is now preparing for the British Championships, where she will aim to defend her continental title and win it for the fourth year in a row. 

Laura Halford Welsh Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships

In September, the 20-year-old athlete moved away from home to study at the university in Cardiff and she is now training full time. Just recently, she was featured as the cover girl in the most recent edition of the sport’s official digital magazine “Gymnast”.

The athlete told the magazine: “I think I have already improved as a gymnast. Having a structure to the week with ballet and strength and conditioning sessions has made me stronger which of course benefits my routines. 

“Away from training eight of us live together, four rhythmic girls and four artistic girls in a shared house next to the national centre. We have a house parent who looks after us.”

Due to her failure to acquire a qualification spot for the Rio Olympic Games in August, and with the absence of the World Championships this season, Halford said that her biggest target for this year is the British Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships that will take place in Liverpool at the end of July. 

“Of course, for many of us the long-term aim is the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne.” She added.

Laura Halford medals

Laura Halford is known for her impressive performances at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, where she won the team event silver with Wales and took home two individual bronze medals in the Ball and All-around event.

The 2016 Rhythmic British Championships will start on 28th of July and will continue until the 31st of July, 2016. The competition will take place at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, England.

Let us bring you the latest news in the world of gymnastics by following our official blog sites. Enroll now here at Bianka Panova Sport and Art Academy and learn gymnastics for kids in the most fun and exciting way! :)

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Japanese Superstar Uchimura Determined to Win the Team Gold in Rio

Despite the extreme pressure that is weighed upon his muscular shoulders, Japanese artistic gymnastics superstar Kohei Uchimura remained firm and shrugged off the pressure. 


“I don’t think of it as a pressure”, the six-time World gold All-around medalist told the Japan times. “I don’t think about what will happen if I made a mistake – I think about how the team will benefit if I’m successful. 

“A lot of people wish me well and say to me: ‘Bring home the gold medal.’ I want to respond to those expectations and that makes me stronger. I only think in positive terms, and that’s why I have become good at dealing with the pressure.”

Uchimura’s goal is to lead his teammates to Olympic team gold – a feat last achieved by the Japanese team in 2004. Another objective of “King Kohei” is to defend his All-around title, while also cementing his reputation as the greatest gymnast of all time. 

The Japanese national team – which includes Uchimura, Yusuke Tanaka, Ryohei Kato, Kenzo Shira and Koji Yamamuro – advances to Rio with a high after finally achieving a feat never done in the past 37 years – to win a team title at a World Championship. 

The Japanese crowd is expecting another strong performance from the Japanese team in Rio in August, which will hopefully end China’s two straight winning streak at the Olympic Games (2008, 2012), but Uchimura is happy to stay above the fray. 

“It’s not that I try to make myself calm, it just happens naturally through experience,” said the Japanese superstar. “I don’t get so excited by the Olympics nowadays. There’s no special feeling. I even feel a little sad for myself that I’m not able to feel anything special about competing in the Olympics.”

“But I think that’s probably a good thing. I don’t think it’s good for your performance to feel different just because it’s the Olympics.”

In his third Olympic participation, Kohei Uchimura has been assigned as team leader of the Japanese men’s artistic team, and Tanaka has noticed a change in his teammate.

“He has more conversations with everyone now,” said the 26-year-old Tanaka, who was a member of the silver medal-winning team at the 2012 Olympic Games in London 4 years ago along with Uchimura, Kato, Yamamuro and Kazuhito Tanaka.

“Everyone has more experience as a team. Of course when you’re performing you’re on your own, but really, you’re not alone. Because everyone has more experience as a team, it creates an atmosphere that makes it easier to perform.”

Four years ago, the Japanese national team took the silver medal from Britain after lodging a last-gap appeal against a low score awarded to Uchimura after he failed to properly dismount from the pommel horse. 

At the Rio 2016 Olympics, Uchimura believes that this same apparatus can make or break Japan’s gold medal winning potential. 

“We start on the pommel horse, and if we’re successful, we can ride the momentum for the rest of the competition,” he said. “That’s the apparatus that’s easiest to fall off, so if we can do well it will help us to relax as a team. 


“On the other hand, if we fail at the start it could end up being the same as in London. But we’ve picked up a lot of experience since then and we have to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

In the upcoming Olympic Games, the crowd’s focus will be on the Japanese superstar Kohe Uchimura as he tries to create another historic feat at the competition that will take place this August. 

Uchimura believes that Rio will be the last Olympics where he is at the peak of his physical condition, and the world will be watching with bated breath. 

“I’ve grown up a lot” said the 27-year-old gymnast “I’m usually calm but also I’ve learned how to get people fired up when they need to be fired up. I feel like I’ve become a lot wiser.”

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