Articles by "Retired Gymnasts"
Showing posts with label Retired Gymnasts. Show all posts

Who would have thought that Sam Peszek has trained and competed the double Arabian on balance beam which is the most difficult dismount on the apparatus.

The former Olympic gymnast posted a video of herself doing the difficult dismount nine years ago, on Instagram. She has only competed it once.

"This was my only meet ever competing my double Arabian off beam and 9 years later I’m seeing it for the first time! Pretty cool!" She captioned the video.

During her elite gymnastics career, Sam competed an E rated double back pike dismount.

Peszek is best known for being part of the 2007 World gold winning team and the 2008 Olympic silver medal winning team, as well as for being a three time NCAA champion.

Written by Gigi Farid

Hannah Zeile, who was born in 1997, plays teenage Kate Pearson on the hit show This Is Us.

She is the daughter of former Olympic gymnast Julianne McNamara who is a three time Olympic medalist. 

At 1984 Los Angles Olympics, she tied Ma Yanhong from China for gold on uneven bars, won silver with the team and on floor exercise. 

The Olympics were boycotted by then reigning Olympic and World champions the Soviet Union, and East Germany who were the bronze medalists at the 1980 Olympics and the then pre Olympic Worlds.

McNamara was as well the 1981 World bronze medalist on uneven bars. She was known for her superb bar work and had scored the perfect ten scores in several competitions. Following the end of her elite gymnastics career, she enrolled in UCLA.

After retiring from the sport, she pursued an acting career appearing in television shows such as Charles in Charge and Knight Rider. However, she later quit.

She provided commentary for various networks such as CBS' collegiate gymnastics broadcasts and ESPN’s cheerleading championships.

In 1989, she married baseball player Todd Zeile and had four children. They divorced in 2015.

This Is Us is about the family lives and connections of several people who all share the same birthday and the ways in which they are similar and different.

The series has received positive reviews since its premiere, receiving nominations for Best Television Series – Drama at the 74th Golden Globe Awards and Best Drama Series at the 7th Critics' Choice Awards, as well as being chosen as a Top Television Program by the American Film Institute.

Written by Gigi Farid

Anna Dementyeva will soon be joining her former teammates Aliya Mustafina, Ksenia Semenova and Ksenia Afanasyeva in the motherhood club.

The former Russian gymnast has posted several photos of herself on the Russian social media VK showing off her large baby bump.

Dementyeva got married in 2015 and changed her name to Kuznetsova. However, she now goes by the name of Anya Krestyanskova which says she got married twice to two different men.

Her biggest career achievement was winning the European all around and balance beam gold in 2011. She was also part of the World gold medal winning Russian team in 2010 and the silver medal winning one in 2011.

Despite showing that she was worthy of a spot on the 2012 Olympic team, Dementyeva was excluded from camp by the Rodionenkos. The matter which Mustafina's former coach Alexandrov spoke strongly against.

She competed at 2013 Universiade Games and decided to retire later that year.

Written by Gigi Farid

Our beautiful former Russian gymnast Anna Pavlova is a married woman.

Last March, Pavlova tied the knot with sweetheart Denis Savenkov, a former Belorussian elite gymnast.

Pavlova and Savenkov have so much common. They were born in September, Anna on the 6th and Denis on the 17th.

They competed at two Olympic Games, Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008. 

They have a collection of medals won at the European championships and none of which are gold. Pavlova has five silver medals and two bronze, Savenkov has five bronze medals and a silver.

At 2005 European championships, Savenkov and Pavlova made the podium in the all around competition.

They left the Beijing Olympics with empty hands and vault was one of their strongest events.

Pavlova turned senior in 2003 and retired in 2015. She has two Olympic bronze medals with the team and on vault. She won a bronze medal with her team at 2006 World championships.

The last time she competed internationally for her native country was in 2008. In 2013, she become a naturalized citizen of Azerbaijani and won the country's first ever European medal the following year which was a silver on vault.

Written by Gigi Farid

Svetlana Khorkina's ‘Магия побед’ or ‘The Magic of Winning’, published by Eskmo.

Russia’s seven-time Olympic medallist Svetlana Khorkina has written a new memoir, titled ‘Магия побед’ or ‘The Magic of Winning’, as aptly translated by Gymnovosti (the literal translation would be ‘The Magic of Victories’), which is going to be published later this month.

‘The Magic of Winning’ is Khorkina’s second autobiography. Her first memoir was ‘Flic-flacs in High Heels’, which was published ten years ago and is now out of print.

To a certain extent the two autobiographies overlap, in so far as they both tell the story of Khorkina’s childhood and gymnastics career. The new book, however, adds new information concerning Khorkina’s life during these past ten years, as well as her current views of gymnastics. The book description explains that the Olympic champion has gained perspective and wisdom, and that she felt an updated edition of the memoir was needed to reflect her matured self. Therefore, the description says, the memoir ‘is a bright, emotional, but at the same time deeper, more conscious and franker work. [Khorkina] is no longer afraid of being misunderstood and of what people think of her, and can finally be herself.’

The book’s publishing house, Eskmo, has posted the first few pages of the memoir online, ahead of its publication. Interestingly, the first chapter does not concern Khorkina’s life or career, but doping in sports. Doping is a very contemporary issue, as Russia is amidst the largest doping scandal of modern times.

Eskmo also published a few quotes from the book, reported below in an approximate translation:

‘Boris Vasil'yevich shot me a critical look and snapped: “Well, why did you bring her to me, she’s so long, just look! Tall, thin – just like a telegraph post! Yes, and she’s not strong enough. What am I going to do with her?! Take her for yourself and deal with her if you wish…”’

‘Because of my seriousness, concentration and inaccessible look while competing, I was called “cold Uma Thurman”, and even “the Snow Queen”.’

‘The experience of defeat is also valuable experience, which, if you want to grow as an athlete, will help you achieve your future victories.’

‘Every time I competed, I had but one goal in mind – to win! And even when something went wrong, I always believed that the next time I would win, and that the present loss was but a steadily forgotten setback towards a future victory.’

There is still no available information concerning a possible translation of Khorkina’s memoir into English. A copy of the original Russian version, however, can be pre-ordered now on It costs 483 Rubles (ca. £6, €7, $8).

Svetlana Khorkina is one of the most successful and decorated gymnasts of modern times. She is a seven-time Olympic medallist, a twenty-time World medallist and a twenty-time European medallist. Twenty-five of these medals were gold. Khorkina won two Olympic uneven bars titles, in Atlanta 1996 and Sydney 2000. She also won five World uneven bars titles (1995, 1996, 1997, 1999 and 2001), one vault title in 2001 and became the first female gymnast to win three all around titles (1997, 2001 and 2003). Khorkina owns also thirteen European championship titles, six on the uneven bars, three in the all around, one on floor, one on beam and two with the team.

By Talitha Ilacqua
USA Gymnastics has announced that former Olympic gymnast Jordyn Wieber will be hosting the upcoming P&G championships, which will be held between 17-20th August in Anaheim, California.

Two time Olympic medalist Jonathon Horton and Olympic silver medalist Samantha Peszek will join Wieber in leading the online coverage.

All three will be hosting daily webcasts of the junior competitions.

This is the first time for Anaheim to host the P&G championships. The city previously hosted the World championships back in 2003 where the US women's gymnastics team won their first gold.

Written by Gigi Farid

Andreea Răducan is the new president of the Romanian Gymnastics Federation. Photograph: Silvia Vatteroni

Olympic champion Andreea Răducan, 33, is the new president of the Romanian Gymnastics Federation (FRG). Răducan was the only candidate, following the other candidate’s, Adrian Stoica, withdrawal on Thursday. The news of the election is scheduled to be officialised this morning.

After working for the Romanian Gymnastics Federation for over four decades, including twelve years as president, Mr. Stoica announced his withdrawal from the race on Thursday morning. He told AGERPRES: ‘I will not run anymore given that there is such a desire from the younger generation to get involved. I've already spent 42 and a half years within the Romanian Gymnastics Federation —it's time to go’.

Răducan was not surprised by Mr. Stoica’s decision, she told International Gymnast Magazine on Thursday evening. ‘First and foremost,’ she added, ‘I respect Mr. Stoica's decision to not present his candidacy for the presidency of the Romanian Gymnastics Federation. He has notified me before making this decision public, and I thank him for his trust and for everything he has done during his tenure as the President of the Romanian Gymnastics Federation.’

Răducan is ready to take on the dramatic challenges surrounding Romanian gymnastics, after a disappointing quadrennium that saw Romania fail to qualify to the Olympic Games for the first time in forty-eight years.

‘Romania's gymnastics team did not qualify for the Olympic Games in Rio, which represented a huge setback and disappointment for our country’, Răducan said. ‘It was the first time after forty-eight years that the female team did not make it to the Olympics. Keep in mind that during the last forty-four years, since Munich 1972, the female gymnastics team has won at least one medal at each edition. Being now the only candidate to lead this federation, it has become clear to me that the federation will be undergoing a profound change, some would call it a “generational change”. This change will take place both on a managerial level and on a sports level. We highly appreciate the extraordinary results obtained by our veterans like Cătălina Ponor and Marian Drăgulescu. At the same time we will have to be courageous and give the chance to the new generation of talented young Romanian gymnasts to prove themselves and compete on a top level. Therefore, my main goal as the new President is to reform the FRG so that our national team will have satisfying results at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.’

Răducan, who officially won a gold with the team and a silver on vault at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, as well as, unofficially, the all around title, has been heavily involved in gymnastics since her retirement in 2002. She worked as a reporter and as a TV commentator, and has been one of the main promoter of Romanian gymnastics in the past decade. Since 2006, she has been working with the Romanian Olympic Foundation and she is its current president. The Foundation promotes fitness and sport in Romania, and provides help to former champions needing assistance.

Răducan graduated with a degree in Physical Education from the West University of Timișoara and earned a Master's degree in Journalism from the University of Bucharest. In 2010, she released her autobiography, ‘The Other Side of the Medal’, a monograph about the controversial decision to strip her of her 2000 Olympic all-around title, because she had ingested a flu medication that is now no longer a banned substance.

In 2017, Răducan worked with the Romanian Gymnastics Federation to host the Gymnastics European Championships in Cluj Napoca, Romania. The event was a success and the 10,000-capacity arena sold out during the event. ‘The event was a great success confirmed by the enthusiastic crowd and the European Union of Gymnastics’, Răducan proudly said. ‘It proved that in Romania we are capable of hosting wonderful gymnastics tournaments. After this positive experience, we are definitely open to discussing other bids for international events.’

By Talitha Ilacqua
Ksenia Afanasyeva has just become a first time mom.

The former Russian gymnast's husband announced on Instagram that his wife has given birth. He posted a photo of pregnant Ksenia along with caption "I am the happiest man on earth".

According to Ginnastica Artistica Italiana, it's a boy and we are yet to know his name.

Ksenia's former teammates Maria Paseka and Aliya Mustafina congratulated the husband on Instagram.

Mustafina previously said that the 2011 World floor champion desires to resume her career after giving birth. Her last competition was the 2016 European championships where she won gold with the team and a bronze on vault.

Several weeks before the Rio Olympics, Russian media announced that Afanasyeva has retired from gymnastics after suffering from a kidney disease. However, she never commented or declared herself a retired athlete.

Last month, Mustafina gave birth to a baby girl whom she called Alisa. While last January, Ksenia Semenova, another Afanasyeva's teammate, gave birth to a baby boy. 

Written by Gigi Farid

Photo by
Last March, two time Olympic champion Sandra Izbasa donated her beautiful hair for cancer patients.

The blonde athlete had 25 cm cut off her hair to provide real-hair wigs to female cancer patients.

"I wanted to donate a part of my hair to "Renaşterea" (Renaissance) foundation as a part of “Twined Lives” campaign "the former Romanian gymnast told "I wanted get a new look at the same time donate my hair to the making of wigs for women suffering from cancer."

Izbasa said she feels happy that she has taken such a decision.

"I had the pleasure to meet Sandra Izbasa in a TV show a couple of years ago. Since then we have been taking care of her hair" said Gianina Florina, who works as a hairstylist at Jovsky beauty salon.

"Following our collaboration with Renaşterea foundation, Sandra expressed her desire to donate her hair. We chose for her a long bob haircut which suits her hair texture well and a blond balayage which gives her a fresh look."

Izbasa is one of the most successful Romanian gymnasts. She competed at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics where she won four medals including two golds, on floor and vault. She is also three time European beam champion and two time European vault champion.

She retired in 2013.

Written by Gigi Farid.

Special thanks to our Romanian translator Alexander Mladinescu for translating the quotes.

Romania's one of the most successful gymnasts Andreea Raducan has decided to run for the presidency of the country's gymnastics federation against Adrian Stoica.

Stoica has held this position for three consecutive terms. He has come under heavy attack in the past two years for the poor performance of the Romanian team. At the last World championships, they finished in 13th place in the qualification - the first time since 1974 they had finished worse than fourth. Laura Jurca and Larisa Iordache, managed to qualify to the all around final while Romania had no representation in the events final.

After the World championships, Stoica was sent an open later by the Romanian Olympic Committee where they urged him to find a solution to the downfall of the country's gymnastics recommending him to hire foreign coaches for uneven bars and sports psychologists to help the gymnasts.

He was offended by the letter accusing the committee of politicizing the situation adding that he is pleased with the results and that the downfall was only temporarily.

At last year's Rio Test Event, they failed to qualify a full team to the Olympics for the first time in 48 years. They were only able to send one gymnast to Rio, veteran Catalina Ponor, who failed to bring home a medal.

Raducan is five months pregnant with her husband businessman Daniel Tandreu whom she married last year.

Three time Olympic champion Catalina Ponor has previously announced her support for Raducan in leading the Romanian gymnastics federation.

Raducan is the winner of eight World championships medals, five of which are gold. At the 2000 Sydney Olympics, she led her team to win their first Olympic gold medal ever in a non boycott Olympics and won a silver medal on vault. She crowned as the original winner of the Olympic all around gold but was shortly stripped of it after testing positive for a banned substance. The elite gymnast, who was then underage, was widely believed to be innocent and the rightful winner of the medal, and that she took two pills of cold at the recommendation of the team doctor, not knowing that it contained the banned substance 

Răducan was exonerated of any personal wrongdoing by the Romanian Olympic Committee, and therefore was not subjected to the sporting ban usually imposed on athletes involved in doping cases. 

Written by Gigi Farid.