A roundup of this weeks gymnastics news (23-29 April 2017)!
1. Thema Williams lawsuit to go ahead:
Trinidad & Tobago gymnast Thema Williams’ lawsuit will go ahead. The lawsuit, which is filed by Thema against the Trinidad & Tobago Gymnastics Federation is seeking damages of $11.38 million for ‘harsh and oppressive’ treatment by the Federation after fellow Trinidad & Tobago gymnast, Marisa Dick was chosen over Thema to compete at the Olympic Test Event last year in Rio and therefore qualify to the Olympic Games. This decision came after months of controversy between the two gymnasts involving naked pictures and anonymous emails, amongst a plethora of other things. This week, the lawsuit which was blocked initially by an issue raised by the TTGF was given the ‘go ahead’ at the Hall of Justice in Port of Spain after High Court Judge Frank Seepersad ruled against the TTGF. The next hearing on the suit will be on May 15.
2. Ekaterina Sokova explains retirement:
Former Russian Junior National Team member, Ekaterina Sokova posted a video this week explaining why she retired from gymnastics. In the video, posted to YouTube, the 16 year old explained that she had been experiencing severe hip pain in February 2016, it getting so severe that she could barely walk. After complaining to coaches and undergoing an MRI in April 2016, it was established that there was a small fracture in her hip that would require her to rest the joint. By December 2016, the pain was still there but Sokova claims that her coaches did not listen to her complaining of pain, thinking that she was just ‘being a baby’. With the pain getting worse, in December 2016 her mother took her to a doctor who told her that she had extremely severe arthritis in her hip and that she would require a hip replacement. Eligible for the Rio Olympic Games, Sokova was one of Russia’s brightest young juniors and probably could have made the team for Rio had it not been for this devastating diagnosis. Of course, Sokova was told she could never do gymnastics again and may, some day be able to do some recreational running for exercise. Sokova, having a hip replacement at 16 will have to undergo replacement surgery in approximately 15-20 years.
3. Jazmyn Foberg signs with Florida a year early:
2014 US Junior National Champion, Jazmyn Foberg of MG Elite in New Jersey signed with the University of Florida this week and will attend this Fall, 2017. The former US National Team member has been verbally committed to Florida since 2014 and was expected to attend in 2018, after the completion of her senior year in high school. However, it seems that Jazzy has finished up with high school a year early and will attend college at just 17 years old and compete for the Gators this upcoming season. The announcement comes after two of Florida’s gymnasts, Ashley Hiller and Lacy Dagen were released by Florida and after a tumultuous year for Foberg. Foberg, who trained alongside 2016 Olympic gold medalist, Laurie Hernandez at the New Jersey gym was Rio eligible. After qualifying elite in 2013, Jazzy made a splash on to the elite scene in 2014, taking the AA title at the P&G Championships and being added to the Junior National Team. Jazzy went on to represent the US at the 2015 City of Jesolo Trophy in Jesolo, Italy and the International Junior Japan meet in Yokohama, Japan, placing 3rd AA in Italy and 2nd AA in Japan. Jazzy also took home the AA silver at the 2015 P&G Championships and was looking good ahead of her senior debut in 2016. However, injury plagued Jazzy in 2016 and whilst she competed at the 2016 Secret Classic, she had missed the beginning of the season and was not in full health going into the Summer season and withdrew herself from the Olympic process. Her high school graduation year officially being 2018, I suspected we would see Jazzy compete elite for the 2017-18 season and try and make the 2017 World Championships team, having attended the January National Team Camp at the Ranch. However, Jazzy obviously had different plans and will attend Florida this year instead. It is incredibly impressive that Jazzy has managed to train elite and complete her high school coursework a year early and I hope she will have a stellar college career.
4. US National Team Camp took place at the Ranch:
The April National Team Camp took place this week at the Ranch with Co-Ordinator Valeri Liukin at the helm. The camp saw some new youngsters such as Lillian Lippeat of Cincinatti attend for the first time along with seasoned veterans such as 2016 Olympic alternate, Ashton Locklear.
5. Mihai Brestyan speaks about new role at Australian Gymnastics and first camp with Australian team:
Brestyan, who took over the role of Australian National Team head coach in March conducted the first camp under his watch this week and gave a report on the events. Whilst many speculated that a move to Australia was on the cards for Brestyan, it seems he will not give up his extremely successful gym or life on the East Coast just yet. Brestyan is reported to be still living in Massachusetts and will travel to Australia monthly for Camps.
6. Want to volunteer at the 2017 World Championships in Montreal?
If you’re in the Montreal area, check it out!
7. Tickets can now be requested for the 2018 Commonwealth Games:
The 2018 Commonwealth Games will be held in Gold Coast, Australia and this week, ticket requests could be made online. This does not guarantee tickets but means you are requesting those tickets and you will find out later what tickets you will receive.