Here’s an easy question: Which are you more surprised by — Alicia Sacramone’s announcement that she’s officially retiring, or Shawn Johnson’s statement that she plans to open a multi-sport gym?
For me, it’s the latter. Johnson is 21 this month and obviously done with gymnastics, but the new project seems a bit like something she’d do down the road, not right now. Wasn’t she going to go to college? We freak out in this country when obviously smart and savvy young people don’t head straight for a university around her age. Jaycie Phelps at least got her degree before opening her own multi-sport facility.
Other people and the things they’ve learned this week:
Gabby Douglas’s awards season: Her hairstyle may have stirred up fashionistas again (and women’s gymnastics fans so love talking about leotards and hair) at the Golden Globes, but there was nothing to critique about Douglas’s easy breezy lilac dress look with her natural hair at the Screen Actors Guild Awards. Score one for her. You have to wonder what she’ll do if she goes to the Oscars. Photos here.
Speaking of Douglas: She’s donated her Olympic kit (grips, tape, her mom’s ticket) to the Smithsonian.
Alexander Alexandrov to Brazil?: That’s the lastest out of Russia (via Gym Blog Brazil). But didn’t they just say a few weeks ago that Alexandrov would stay in Russia?
The very best ‘very best’ of 2012: Gold medal to the ladies of STOI. Simply superb.
Brazilian standout Bruna Leal retires: The poised Olympian will not push for Rio, but will instead return there to be with her family and study, according to Gym Blog Brazil.
Arthur Zanetti asks for help: A video showing the reigning Olympic rings champion’s training conditions, which are less than ideal.
Nastia Liukin Supergirl Cup qualifiers (as of right now): Rachel Daum (Stars), Bridget Dean (Orlando Metro), Alex McMurtry (Richmond Olympiad), Lexy Ramler (KidSport Dynamos), Alicia Boren (North Stars), Ashton Locklear (Everest), Miranda Cabada (Winner’s Gymnastics), Emily Gaskins (Cincinnati Gymnastics), Reagan Campbell (Texas Dreams), Samantha Partyka (Champions Gymnastics), Ashleigh Gnat (ACE Gymnastics), Charity Jones (Dynamo), Mariah Peterson (USA Gymnastics World), Mackenzie Brannan (Capital) and Drew Watson (Texas East). Tickets are on sale now. (USA Gymnastics)
Bad news for boys gymnastics in Massachusetts: Boys gymnastics will be dropped as a high school sport in Massachusetts (home of Olympic medalists Peter Kormann and Tim Daggett, among others) after this year, which is a big blow for boys involved in prep gym. Kormann and Aly Raisman, among others, have spoken out against the decision.
Bad news II: It’s not been a good week for gymnastics inclusiveness internationally, either. The Jakarta Post reports that gymnastics will not be a sport in the upcoming Southeast Asian Games in Myanmar, either. Gymnastics has traditionally been a part of this event, and the Indonesians, who tend to do well at the SEA Games, are particularly displeased.
Speaking of men’s gymnastics: Is there such a thing as a ‘girl sport’? I doubt it — and people who say that gymnastics is girly have obviously never done a full in.
Speaking of men’s gymnastics II: An Ohio State update.
Michigan vs. Stanford (men): We talk a lot about how there are only four teams to have won the NCAA women’s title, but there are really only about six teams in contention for the NCAA men’s title as well. Two of them — Michigan and Stanford — went head to head the other night. Michigan won.
Speaking of Michigan: Last week I wrote a column in praise of no. 1 Michigan, right before they were upset by Minnesota in a stunner. Nobody was expecting that. Related: Minnesota, now ranked 10th, has some lovely gymnastics!
The importance of being alums: Georgia gymnasts talk about the importance of its alumni in advance of the alumni meet Saturday in Athens. Would love some updated info about where some of those golden alums are now.
Dance on This: Poor Beth Tweddle is being accused of not having a fun side by the judges on skating reality series “Dancing on Ice.” It’s true that Beth was never the most expressive performer. It’s also true that elite gymnastics doesn’t really encourage frivolity — that’s what the NCAA is for.
Kieran Behan reflects: The Irish gymnastics superstar talks about his goals for the future and his life now, which includes dating a woman “a little bit older than me.”
Nebraska gymnastics update: A short profile on Emily Wong, currently ranked no. 3 in the all-around in the nation.
CJ Maestas profile: Interesting format, audio with Illinois star Maestas (who is sitting out this season with an injury), about the support he receives from his two grandfathers.
Tory Wilson profile: With a lot of to-do about the Utah sophomore being coached by a “men’s coach,” and incorrectly implying that her gymnastics is powerful but unrefined as a result.
North Stars coach killed in car accident: North Stars’s Christian Hills died after losing control of her car on slushy roads and crashing into a tractor-trailer on I-80. North Stars has become more prominently known during the past couple years as the gym of U.S. juniors Ashley Foss and others.
Mexicans in France: Two confirmed for this year’s French International — Mexico’s Daniel Corral, perhaps the best pommel horse/p-bars gymnast in the world (and if not the best, the most elegant) and Alexa Moreno, a vault finalist from the 2011 Worlds.
And finally: The mysterious affair at the intercontinental judges course: We’ve gotten used to the International Gymnastics Federation launching investigations after a gymnast tests positive for furosemide, for example, but the wording of the latest release, which states that “controversial events that arose during the Rhythmic Gymnastics Intercontinental Judges’ Course in Bucharest (ROU) in December 2012, and at the International Courses in Moscow (RUS) and Alicante (ESP)” is downright odd.
What sort of controversial events, you wonder, would occur at a rhythmic gymnastics intercontinental judges course? Judges making off with the ribbons?
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