Articles by "USA Gymnastics"
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Simone Biles' last competition was the Rio Olympics. Photograph: Silvia Vatteroni

Olympic champion Simone Biles is officially back in the gym. The twenty-year-old, who won four golds and a bronze medal at the Rio Olympics last year, said that she returned to the gym two weeks ago in a giggly NBCSN interview at the P&G championships in Anaheim, California on Friday night.

‘I actually started, like, two Fridays ago’, Biles said. ‘I’m weak. But I’m coming back. I’m just doing conditioning and basics right now.’

Biles lastly competed at the Olympics last summer. She has taken much of 2017 off, but has always been committed to come back with an eye on Tokyo 2020.

‘It’s OK to sit out one [year]’, Biles said. ‘I can’t imagine being out on the floor now.’

It is still unclear who will coach Biles this quad. Her long-time coach Aimee Boorman, who is in Anaheim herself this weekend, moved from Texas to Florida with her family.

Biles has also not yet set a return to competition. If she repeats as Olympic all around champion in 2020, she will be the first gymnast to succeed since the late Czech Věra Čáslavská in 1964 and 1968.

2012-Olympic-all-around champion Gabby Douglas made the Olympic team also in 2016, but failed to qualify for the all around final, finishing third in qualifications behind Biles and Aly Raisman. She is still undecided whether she wants to make a comeback or not.

Aly Raisman and Laurie Hernandez both plan to return to training after taking 2017 off.

The fifth member of the Fierce Five, Madison Kocian, is the only one to have competed since Rio. The Texas-native competed as a freshman for UCLA, and recently said that she has not ruled out an elite comeback.

By Talitha Ilacqua
Kaitlin DeGuzman posing with a USA Gymnastics sign. Photograph: Kaitlin DeGuzman 2020/Facebook

U.S. senior gymnast Kaitlin DeGuzman, who turns 17 later this month, will represent the Philippines at the 29th SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, which begin on 17 August.

Despite competing at such U.S. national competitions as P&G Championships, U.S. Classics and the Nastia Liukin Cup in the past, DeGuzman decided to follow her parents’ steps and represent her native country, before joining the Oklahoma Sooners next year. DeGuzman was born in Mandaluyong City, Philippines, but lives in Rowlett, Texas with her family.

DeGuzman made up her mind last March, when she was contacted by the Gymnastics Association of the Philippines, asking her to join the Philippine National Team

‘I was thrilled and excited to have been given the wonderful opportunity to compete for my country’, DeGuzman said, FloGymnastics reports. ‘I've always wanted to compete for the Philippine National Team, and it was an opportunity I didn't want to pass up.’

DeGuzman competed at the Senior Asian Championships in Bankok last May, where she delivered Level 10 routines, as she was not given enough time to train her elite routines. She still managed to finish seventeenth in the all around with a 45.600, the highest score of her team.

DeGuzman said that the Senior Asian Championships were ‘a great experience’, and that she learned a valuable lesson for the upcoming SEA Games. ‘I tend to overthink and I get sick, so I need to stay calm and pray and be positive and just enjoy the moment’, she explained. At the Asian Championships, moreover, DeGuzman got to see 2017 World Cup champion Liu Tingting of China, even though, she reflected, the competition did not compare to competing with Simone Biles, Aly Raisman and Gabby Douglas at the P&G Championships last year.

Despite competing for the Philippines now, DeGuzman still trains at Metroplex Gymnastics in Texas, and competed in elite-level competitions in the United States. She competed at the U.S. Classic in 2015 as a junior, tying for twenty-sixth in the all around, and in 2016 as a first-year senior, finishing twelfth in the all around and eleventh on the uneven bars. Last year she also competed at the P&G Championships, where she finished twenty-first in the all around.

2017 marks the twentieth anniversary of the Philippine gymnastics team’s victory at the 1997 Southeast Asian Games. A member of that team was Kaitlin’s mother, Tammy DeGuzman. Her daughter is now following her footsteps, as well as her husband’s, who was a water polo player also for the Philippines.

Kaitlin DeGuzman is also following the footsteps of another Metroplex gymnast, Lizzy LeDuc, who was a former U.S. gymnast who also competed for the Philippines, helping her team win a bronze medal at the SEA Games in 2015. ‘Lizzy is great under pressure and is a crowd pleaser. I've always admired how she competed, her confidence and charisma’, DeGuzman said of her club mate. ‘Whenever I watch her it's like she pulls you into this trance because you just can't stop watching her, and I hope people feel that and see that when they're watching me compete. She makes gymnastics look easy and pretty.’

Being a member of the Philippine gymnastics team is a great opportunity for DeGuzman to get to know her native country better, before starting university in the United States in 2018. ‘(Being) with the Philippine team gave me an opportunity to get to know my hometown teammates, see a part of Asia, experience a different culture, travel, and be able to be a part of another team and make friends’, she explained.

Concerning her future with the Philippine team, however, DeGuzman is cautious and does not want to think too far ahead, even though the SEA Games are only her second international assignment. ‘My plan is to do well at the upcoming Southeast Asian Games and take it a day at a time’, she said. ‘I want to focus on getting ready for OU [Oklahoma University] after and whatever God has in store for me in the future.’

By Talitha Ilacqua
Simone Biles at the Rio Olympics. Photograph: Silvia Vatteroni

Four-time Olympic champion Simone Biles will be executive producer of her own biopic, whose working title is ‘The Simone Biles Story’. The film is set to premiere in early 2018.

The film is based on her biography, ‘Courage to Soar’, and will reveal ‘the sacrifices and dedication it took her to become one of the greatest and most celebrated athletes in the world’, according to a press release reported by NBC Sports.

Biles is a co-executive producer along with three other people, including her agent.

Biles is not the only gymnast to have her own biopic. 2012-all-around-Olympic champion Gabby Douglas had her own film, called ‘The Gabby Douglas Story’, released in early 2014. And UCLA gymnast Ariana Berlin’s moving story also inspired a film, ‘Full Out’, which came out in 2015.

Biles is expected to come back to gymnastics by the end of the year.

By Talitha Ilacqua
Gabby Douglas at the 2016 Jesolo Trophy. Photograph: Silvia Vatteroni

Three-time Olympic champion Gabby Douglas has been taking the longest break from gymnastics since she took up the sport aged six. Douglas took a break from gymnastics also after the London Olympics, where she won two gold medals, but this time four years ago she was already back in the gym. 

Douglas is the only member of the Final Five who is still considering whether to continue her gymnastics career or not. Teammates Simone Biles, Laurie Hernandez and Aly Raisman all have set a plan to return to the gym, and Madison Kocian is now a gymnast at UCLA.

Weighing on the possibility of a gymnastics comeback, Douglas argued: ‘We’ll see. I mean, right now, it’s up in the air. I’m enjoying the time off’, NBC Sports reports.

After some time off after the London Olympics, in 2013 Douglas returned to coach Chow’s gym in West Des Moines, Iowa for two months. She then left for Los Angeles in summer 2013, and finally ended up training at Buckeye Gymnastics in Westerville, Ohio, and made her competitive comeback in March 2015 at the Jesolo Trophy. However, Douglas explained that things are different now compared to four years ago.

‘This time is different because I’ve been to two Olympics, and I always wanted to go to two Olympics’, Douglas said. ‘But right now since I’ve been doing gymnastics for 14 years, I am taking this time off, especially growing into my own person.’

Douglas, however, does not see only gymnastics in her future. She plans to become a film actress, and has started taking acting classes in Los Angeles. ‘It’s the same, but different’, Douglas explained of acting versus gymnastics. ‘You have to expose your vulnerability a little bit in acting classes.

Teammate Laurie Hernandez also shared her hope to become an actress one day, and even participated in a Disney casting.

Gymnastics-wise, Douglas is aware that her teammate from both London and Rio, Aly Raisman, will soon be back training for her third Olympic Games. Such choices, however, she argues, are personal: ‘It’s whatever you want to do’, Douglas said, ‘whatever you want to achieve.’

By Talitha Ilacqua

Photo by Silvia Vatteroni
Six time Olympic medalist Aly Raisman has decided to stand up for the transgender community who serves and wishes to serve in the US military, using Instagram and Twitter.

"So sad that we can't all support each other. It breaks my heart. Thank you to all who fight for our country. You are my heroes" she tweeted.

But for Raisman a tweet was not enough. On Instagram, she posted a screenshot of her previous tweet and of actress Lucy Hale's tweets, regrading the subject, which she retweeted.

"Transgender community you are supported, loved and valued by so many. I PROUDLY stand with you!" tweeted Pretty Little Lairs actress.

"Anyone willing to put their life on the line & protect others should be allowed AND applauded despite gender, race or sexual orientation."

The World champion has also asked her fans not to comment on the post if they are going to post negative comments.

"If you have anything rude to say. Do not bother commenting."

"Love is love. We are all humans. We all have feelings. Everyone has a story that is important. Be kind."

The courageous stance came after US president Donald Trump tweeted that the government will not be accepting or allowing transgender individuals to serve in the military citing  "tremendous medical costs and disruption" as the reason.

Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Reuters that the military’s policy permitting transgender individuals to serve remains in place until the President's direction has been received by the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary has issued implementation guidance.

This is not the first time for Aly to stand with minorities as she previously announced her support to LGBT community using also Instagram.

Written by Gigi Farid

Simone Biles can't get any cooler.

The American gymnast posted a video of herself on Instagram while being under the influence of the wisdom tooth surgery drugs.

She captioned it "after wisdom teeth !! no words haha! ENJOY! hope yall get a good laugh!!"

Biles appears to have thought that she is driving a car while singing. She goes into sleep mode shortly afterwards.

Drug used in wisdom teeth removal surgery can make people act strangely out of character.

Scientists have compared being under anesthesia to being in a slight coma, and the actions of those after coming out of the effect as similar to those of one waking from a dream.

Patients uploading videos online of themselves under the influence of the wisdom tooth surgery drug is a very popular thing, with some going viral.

Celebrities like Rita Ora and Julianne Hough had posted post-wisdom teeth removal footage on their social media accounts before.

A post shared by Simone Biles (@simonebiles) on

Written by Gigi Farid

Photo by Silvia Vatteroni

Simone Biles does ridiculously difficult skills, wins Olympic and World gold medals, takes part in tv shows, has her own competition..... yet has the time to respond to ridiculous things her fans do as well as speculations they make.

Tumblr's Gym Fan Confessions posted a confession that reads "As incredible Simone is, I don't want her to come back because competitions get predictable and boring."

The American gymnast saw it and had no response but "yall have the dumbest reasons".

Her response gained positive reaction among Tumblr users.

"Simone is amazing. In competition and on tumblr."

"Was literally about to comment ‘okay but since when would Simone give a **** about what u want’ but I now I see I was far too late LMAOOO0OOO0o000000o."

"Every thing you do makes me adore you more. Keep slaying!"

"When you forget Simone has a tumblr…."

"Drag them Simone."

Biles dominated the 2013-2016 Quad by winning 19 medals at the World championships and Olympic Games. She is currently taking a break from the sport and is expected to resume training at the end of this year or at the beginning of the next one.

Last month, Simone tweeted "ain't no crying in the club" and a Tumblr user took a screenshot of it and added "Isn’t Simone Mani’s new “bestie” after DWTS…well she seems to also be digging CITC. 😏 Look at all the support the girl’s friends are giving to their “dispicable” ex bandmate. Something just isn’t adding up" 

Biles was quick to shoot down the speculation.

"Do yall really have NOTHING better to do than pick apart & investigate EVERY SINGLE thing we do. let us breathe for once. Geez" she wrote.

Tumblr users joined the American athlete scolding the speculator.

"👀👀like people don't know their posts can be seen by those they're talking about?  Bless you for saying something... fans be cray."

"Simone good for you for sticking up for yourself. People you are not entitled to any deeper information than what is shared. EVER. And behavior like trying to figure out a tweet or going through someone’s likes to see what their mood might be or who they voted for isn’t even fan stats. It doesn’t make you their number one fan, it makes you creepy and stalkerish and makes people not want to associate with you ever. Especially the person you’re doing it to. If they knew you had that behavior honestly they’d probably block you."

"Let the damn girls live ffs"

Written by Gigi Farid

Photo by Silvia Vatteroni

Today, Norah Flatley has left us devastated when she took to Instagram to announce her  retirement from elite gymnastics.

Flatley wrote a long caption on Instagram paying an emotional tribute to her coaches and parents for believing in her and helping her achieving her dreams.

"What an amazing journey it's been" wrote Flatley. "I've been extremely blessed to have done elite gymnastics these past 5 years."

"I am truly grateful for USA gymnastics for giving me the opportunity to represent Team USA in international competitions. I definitely could not have reached the top level of this sport without an amazing support system behind me."

"My parents have been my number one fans through the ups and downs. They have sacrificed so much to give me the opportunity to achieve my goals. I love you both with all my heart."

"And to Chow and Li, I can not put into words the gratitude I have for you both. They have been like second parents to me and shaped me into the person and gymnast I am today. Thank you for always believing in me and helping me achieve my dreams. Thank you for pushing me every single day to be the best I can be. Thank you for teaching me to always have high standards in everything I do."

"Even after all the injuries you both have stayed by my side and given me confidence that I can come back from any obstacle that is put in front of me. I am forever grateful for my coaches."

Flatley plans to finish one more year as a level 10 gymnast with her coach Chow and to join UCLA team next year.

The American athlete turned senior last year but had to withdraw from all competitions due to a broken foot that has not healed in time to allow her to train.

As a junior gymnast, Norah was hailed as the successor to Shawn Johnson who is the 2008 Olympic beam champion and 2007 World all around champion.

Her last competition was the 2015 Jesolo trophy. She missed the same year's P&G Championships due to a flared up stress fracture in her foot.

Written by Gigi Farid

Christina Desiderio shows off her LSU pride. Photograph: Christina Desiderio/Instagram

Yesterday U.S. Senior International Elite Christina Desiderio, who turns 17 in August and trains at Parkettes, announced a last-minute change of plans. She decided to retire from elite gymnastics and to join LSU one year early. Desiderio was to join the LSU Tigers in 2018 for the 2018–2019 season, but instead she is joining them already this fall, and will compete for them already in the 2017–2018 season.

Desiderio was one of the top U.S. gymnasts in 2015 and 2016. In 2015, as a junior, she finished second on floor at the Secret U.S. Classic and third also on floor at the P&G Championships. In 2016, her first year as a senior, she won a bronze medal on floor at the Secret U.S. Classic. At the P&G Championships, she tied for sixth place on floor, and qualified to the Olympic Trials, where she finished sixth on balance beam.

Desiderio announced her new plans on Instagram, writing: ‘[S]uper excited to announce that I will be going to LSU a year early!!!! a huge thanks to my family, friends & all of my coaches @parkettes for EVERYTHING! without you guys accomplishing my goals as an elite gymnast would not have been possible! beyond excited to start this new chapter in my life😍...less than 1 month to geaux!🐯 #GEAUXTIGERS’.

Desiderio explained The Gymternet how she took the difficult decision to move on from elite and join LSU early. ‘I was talking to the LSU coaches, and they mentioned that there was a spot open, and wondered if I was interested in coming early. I gave it a lot of thought and decided that would be the best way to go. In the end there were more pros than cons, the biggest one being that my body can’t handle elite gymnastics any longer. I had a couple of nagging injuries that would not allow me to train the way I needed to. I rested for a while, so I can be ready to go in August.’

What she most looks forward to at LSU is the team spirit. ‘Elite gymnastics is very intense and sometimes lonely’, Desiderio said. ‘I am so looking forward to being part of a team.’

At LSU she hopes to contribute as an all arounder, but in particular she wants to make the lineup on beam and floor, her two best apparatuses. ‘I’m sure I’ll be keeping my double layout on floor, but beyond that I have no idea’, Desiderio argued.

Desiderio has the potential to become an NCAA star, and she is certain that at LSU she will find a second home and a second family. ‘I visited five colleges, and absolutely fell in love with LSU, the coaches, the atmosphere and the team. It truly felt like they were a family. I had no doubt that’s where I belonged.’

Good luck to Christina and GEAUX Tigers!

By Talitha Ilacqua

Madison Kocian at the Olympics in Rio. Photograph: YouTube

Olympic champion Madison Kocian does not close the door on an elite comeback, NBC Sports reports.

The Texas-native, 20, has had mesmerising past twelve months. In July 2016 she was selected to represent Team USA at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, where she helped her team win gold, and gained an individual silver medal on the uneven bars. After Rio, Kocian moved to college at UCLA, and became one of the Bruins’ most prominent and successful gymnast.

When gymnasts move to college, they normally close the door on their elite career. Kocian, however, has still not decided whether she wants to train for the next Olympics or stick with college.

‘I know I have accomplished so much already’, said Kocian, who, in addition to her two Olympic medals, is also a three-time World champion. ‘It’s just a matter of if I feel like I need to do anything else before closing that door. It’s still open. I could stop in college after next year and start training [elite], or finish my four years in college and continue my life’.

One thing, however, is certain. Kocian is happy that she did not turn pro, therefore preserving her college eligibility.  I wanted to experience the college student-athlete life and be a part of that different world’, Kocian explained. ‘The hardest part for me was after the Olympics, the media engagements and appearances. I couldn’t get paid for that’.

Kocian was the only member of the Final Five not to turn pro. Teammate Laurie Hernandez was the last one to turn pro, when the team was already in Rio. Keeping her amateur status, Kocian was able to compete for the UCLA Bruins. Olympic champion Kyla Ross, who won gold with the team in London 2012, also kept her college eligibility, and the two Olympic champions are now competing at UCLA together.

Kocian explained that moving to college was a big change, but that she has settled down now. ‘It was something different, a totally new experience that I was just getting used to’, she said. But now ‘I found my rhythm.’

The hardest part of competing in college this past season, Kocian argued, was injuries. The Olympic champion suffered a small subluxation (partial dislocation) on an uneven bars release move at the Olympic Trials, but kept it quiet and managed through it. After the Olympics, however, she did not have time to rest, and competed for UCLA with a torn labrum and partially torn rotator cuff.

‘That was the hardest thing going through the season’, Kocian said. ‘Nothing’s going to really heal the tear unless you do surgery. We were trying every other option’. Kocian, however, wants to avoid surgery if possible. She is now taking summer off to allow her body to finally rest.

Despite the injuries, Kocian had a very successful freshman year at UCLA. She competed in the all around in twelve of UCLA’s fourteen meets, and won half of them. At the end of the regular season, Kocian was awarded four NCAA All-American honours (all around, vault, beam and floor). And at the NCAA Championships, she finished seventh in the all around competition, and helped her team finish fourth at the Super Six.

Her goals for the years to come are to win as many All-American honours as possible and win a National title for UCLA. The Olympic champion seems ready to shine again: ‘I found my rhythm’.

By Talitha Ilacqua