This weeks top gymnastics news!
1. Mihai Brestyan will head Down Under:
It was announced on Thursday, March 2nd that Mihai Brestyan, coach of World and Olympic Champions, Aly Raisman and Alicia Sacramone will take the position that fellow American coach, Peggy Liddick held for 19 years, Women’s National Coach for Australian Gymnastics. The appointment comes as quite a shock, given Mihai’s success as a club coach, coaching countless top level 10 gymnasts to College Scholarships and coaching many elite gymnasts who go on to compete for various different countries internationally from his gym in Burlington, MA and of course coaching two gymnasts to World and Olympic gold.
Peggy Liddick took the position in 1997, after coaching Shannon Miller to two Olympic golds in Atlanta in 1996 and 5 Olympic medals in Barcelona in 1992. Under Peggy’s leadership, Australian gymnastics produced their first ever World team medal in 2003, their first ever World All-Around medal with Monette Russo in 2005 and their first ever World Champion with Lauren Mitchell on FX in 2010. Whilst great success has come under Peggy, it was evident change was needed after the Australian team failed to qualify to the 2016 Olympic Games and that change has now come in the form of Mihai Brestyan.
Brestyan was a gymnast in Romania before moving to the United States and opening a gym with his wife Sylvie. The pair have produced countless top U.S. gymnasts and have established themselves as one of the top clubs in the U.S. It is no surprise that after the success of Aly at the Olympic Games in both 2012 and 2016, Gymnastics programmes would be welcoming Brestyan with open arms and it seems only natural that Mihai would want a slight change in career. The position undoubtedly comes with a nice salary and why wouldn’t he want to trade the cold Massachusetts winters for the warm climate of Australia.
I just wonder however what this means for his club and for Aly who has stated that she intends to come back and try for a third Olympics in 2020. I can’t picture Aly training with anyone else and Mihai can’t really coach Aly for the U.S. alongside the Australian National Team!! So who knows maybe she will go elsewhere, I suppose she will have to. That is if she does train for Tokyo in 2020.
2. Simone Biles will take to the dance floor for Season 24 of Dancing With the Stars:
Coming off the back of a glorious win for Olympic team Laurie Hernandez, Simone Biles will join the DWTS cast for Season 24., adding to the growing list of U.S. gymnasts who have foxtrotted across the DWTS stage. We have seen Shawn Johnson and Laurie win the show in the immediate aftermath of the Olympics and seen Nastia Liukin and Aly Raisman both finish 4th. What will be the fate of Ms.Simone Biles? Only time will tell! She certainly has the same charisma as Laurie so that will translate perfectly to the American public!
3. USA Gymnastics announces international assignments for Spring:
The up and comers are making their mark! In the post Olympic year we always see new talent emerge and this year is no different! The composition of the US National team this year is certainly very young with many of the seasoned competitors that competed throughout 2016 and at the Olympic Trials either off at college or taking a break and making the most of other opportunities, the responsibility is now in the hands of the many new seniors and the juniors to carry the formidable reputation of USA Gymnastics. With Valeri Liukin taking the helm over Martha Karolyi, it certainly feels like a new era for USA Gymnastics and the new crop of talent emerging is certainly exciting!
Following the February National Team Camp that took place at the Ranch this week, the international assignments for Spring were announced. Juniors, Emma Malabuyo, Gabby Perea, Maile O’Keefe and Sunisa Lee will compete at Gymnix International in Montreal, Canada next week whilst Riley McCusker was announced as the wildcard for the US for the American Cup in Newark, NJ this weekend and will compete alongside US Olympic team alternate, Ragan Smith. It was also announced that new senior, Morgan Hurd will compete at the Stuttgart World Cup later this month.
In addition we were also treated to verification news from camp and physical abilities test results, along with a training video from the January camp!
4. More developments in the Larry Nassar/ USA Gymnastics/ MSU cases:
Every week, there are countless developments in the USA Gymnastics/ MSU/ Larry Nassar cases. Here’s a selection of this weeks developments.
5. New President of the FIG Athletes Commission:
This week, after the 1997 World High Bar Champion, Jani Tanskanen of Finland stepped down as President, the Athletes Commission which is pictured above elected Liubou Charkashyna of Belarus as the new President at a meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland on Tuesday. Charkashyna was the 2012 Olympic bronze medalist in the All-Around for Rhythmic Gymnastics and is also a two time European Champion and seven time World medalist.
6. 2022 Commonwealth Games under debate:
After the South African Sports Minister announced recently that it simply does not have enough money to host the Commonwealth Games in Durban in 2022, Liverpool has stated that they would gladly host instead. Durban was the sole bidder for the multi sport event that brings together the nations of the Commonwealth every four years, and of course includes gymnastics. But now, after doubts were raised about it’s ability to host the event, Liverpool, who had been planning to bid for the 2026 Games has said they would step in. It is unknown when the final decision will be made but has been speculated that the Commonwealth Games Commission must make a decision before Durban officially backs out.
7. Gabby Douglas attends the Vanity Fair Oscars Party:
And she looked gorgeous!
8. Romanian team for European Championships reported:
It was reported that the Romanian team for European Championships is Ponor, Ocolisan and Iordache with the fourth spot to be decided later. Of course, the 2017 European Championships will be held in Romania so the team will be hoping to put on a good performance in front of a home crowd, especially after a rough year last year, failing to qualify a full team to the Olympic Games and furthermore, Ponor failing to earn any medals at the 2016 Olympic Games.
9. Olga Korbut auctions medals:
Olympic and World Champion and gymnastics legend, Olga Korbut has sold some of her Olympic medal haul at an auction this week. Along with her Olympic gold and silver medals, earned at the 1972 Games in Munich and 1976 Games in Montreal, the Soviet gymnast is reported to have sold some memorabilia in an online auction including her BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award and World Championships medals. The top item sold was her Olympic team gold medal, earned as part of the Soviet team which dominated gymnastics at the 1972 Games in Munich. The medal sold for $66,000 and Korbut’s items in total reportedly sold for $333,500. Korbut competed for the Soviet Union and moved to the U.S. in 1991. Whilst many news outlets have reported that Korbut sold her medals to save herself from destitution and has been experiencing serious financial difficulties, Korbut tweeted this week to refute this: