This week was another busy week in the world of elite gymnastics. Following on from a busy weekend where we witnessed the US dominate at the City of Jesolo Trophy in Jesolo, Italy, Russia take the team title at the DTB Team Challenge with huge UB scores, Sophie Scheder take the AA title at the Stuttgart World Cup and cry with joy and of course, Claudia Fragapane take the AA title at the English Championships in Loughborough, England.
Evidently, it was an extremely busy weekend and the week was just as busy! Here is the week in review!
1. Raer Theaker retires:
The GB and Welsh Gymnast who captured a team bronze medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland announced her retirement this week via social media. 18 year old Raer became Welsh National Champion in 2015, however has since struggled with injury and only competed 0n BB at this years Welsh Championships. Ultimately, Raer, who was the most likely of the Welsh seniors to make it on to the World and Olympic stage decided to move on from competitive gymnastics and begin coaching the next generation of Welsh talent. We wish this amazing young lady all the best in her future endeavors.
2. Marta Pihan-Kulesza announces retirement:
Two time Olympian and eight time Polish National AA Champion, Marta Pihan-Kulesza announced during the week that following the announcement that Katarzyna Jurkowska-Kowalska and Gabriela Janik would represent Poland at the Olympic Test Event in Rio in April, she would retire following the Italian Serie A in May, ending a legendary and lengthy career. Pihan-Kulesza has long been the standout of the Polish national team, coming to prominence after winning her first Polish National AA title in 2005 and continuing to shine with her pink panther themed FX and bright and unusual hair styles. Whilst she will be sadly missed on the international stage, her legacy will live on through the Polish gymnastics program which she helped grow into a stronger program through her stellar career which spanned over a decade. Marta will continue to compete until May and will compete next weekend at the Cottbus World Challenge Cup.
3. Nina Derwael injures her hand:
First year senior and big hope for the Belgian gymnastics team, Nina Derwael injured her hand during training this week. Derwael recently competed at L’Imternational Gymnix in Montreal, Canada and helped the Belgian team take the team title in the senior division and individually Nina placed 7th AA, took the gold medal on UB and took the silver medal on the BB. With Belgium still needing to qualify a full team to the Olympic Games this was good news however this injury will put Nina’s spot on the team for the Test Event in jeopardy and if Nina is unable to compete it will most certainly be a major disadvantage for the Belgian team.
4. International field set for Pacific Rim Championships:
This week also saw the roster for the Pacific Rim Championships announced officially by USA Gymnastics. The Pacific Rim Championships will take place in Everett, Washington from April 8th-10th 2016. There will be WAG, MAG, trampoline and Rhythmic Gymnastics on display. With regards to WAG, the US is still yet to announce their team, however this week we leaned who the other countries of the Pacific Rim will send to Everett, Washington which falls just before the Olympic Test Event in Rio. Notably missing, Russia and China will send not gymnasts to the Championships, however three of the teams who have already qualified to the Rio Olympics, USA, Canada and Japan will attend, along with Australia, New Zealand, Mexico and more!
5. Viktoria Komova injured:
World of Gymnastika reported during the week that it was announced via VK, the Russian Facebook that Viktoria Komova injured her back and was sent to the hospital for diagnosis. Viktoria will therefore miss the upcoming Russian Championships in April, along with fellow Russian star, Aliya Mustafina, who confirmed that she would not compete due to the knee injury she sustained in late 2015. It is unknown how serious Viktoria’s back injury is.
6. Valentina Rodionenko denies doping problems in Russian gymnastics:
Amid the chaos surrounding Russian athletes at the moment, many both silently and aloud, speculated as to whether or not Russian gymnasts were also guilty of doping, whether accidental or on purpose. However, it was reported during the week that Valentina Rodionenko has adamantly denied that the Russian gymnasts are involved in scandal that has caused a vast number of athletes to be stripped of their Olympic medals and receive harsh bans.
7. Simone Biles will appear the April issue of American Vogue:
On a lighter note, Simone Biles will continue to conquer the world and continue to become known to the real world (not Gymnastics world) and feature in April’s edition of American Vogue. Biles has appeared in a variety of mainstream media magazines and television shows in 2016 as she prepares to become the darling of the Rio Games…touch wood! Memorably, 2012 Olympic Champion and 2016 hopeful, Aly Raisman was featured in Vogue in 2012 and Simone’s shoot looked to be just as great as Aly’s and I’m sure the issue will be absolutely stunning.
That’s all for this week! Check back next week for next week’s Weekly Roundoff!