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Written by dwight normile    Monday, 22 October 2018 07:27    PDF Print
Ms. Consistency: Riley McCusker Is Some Kind Of Gymnast!
(3 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)

Riley McCusker placed third all-around at the last two U.S. Championships, and she placed second all-around as a junior in 2016.

“Consistency is one of my goals,” says McCusker, who is coached by Maggie Haney and Victoria Levine at Monmouth Gymnastics (MG Elite) in Morganville, New Jersey.

“I think what’s so special about her is her look,” Haney says. “It’s definitely different and stands out. I think she has amazing flexibility and amazing lines on bars, and even on beam and floor.”

You would think Haney would like to create a floor routine for such a gorgeous dancer. Not so. [Haney laughs] “You would think I would be but choreography stresses me out a lot,” Haney says. “I actually don’t enjoy it because I guess I feel like the expectations are so high. I guess my kids are known for their choreography, which is a major compliment, but I would be lying if I said I’ve enjoyed it. I really don’t … I don’t have background in dance at all.”

Asked about her favorite social media platform, Riley says she uses “Snapchat like every day [giggles] … and I use Instagram a lot, too.”

Yes indeed, Riley McCusker is some kind of gymnast!

Read the whole story in the November 2018 issue.

To subscribe to the print and/or digital edition or to order back issues of International Gymnast magazine, click here.

Written by John Crumlish    Monday, 15 October 2018 09:03    PDF Print
'Artistry, Lines, Execution' Are Fenton's Best Assets For Worlds
(1 vote, average 5.00 out of 5)

British gymnast Georgia-Mae Fenton told IG she believes her team has at least “an outside chance” to repeat as medalists at the 2018 World Championships which will begin October 25 in Doha, Qatar.

“It really depends,” said Fenton, who will turn 18 on November 2. “Team finals are so unpredictable. Anything can happen, and there are so many strong teams in the world right now. But I feel if we all do our very best performances we can finish in the top five, and maybe have an outside chance of a medal.”

At the 2015 Worlds in Glasgow, the British women won bronze in the team final. No team competition took place at the 2017 Worlds in Montreal.

Becky Downie, Ellie Downie, Alice Kinsella and Kelly Simm have also been named to the British team that will compete in Doha.

Fenton said the British women have recently focused on consistency on balance beam, the apparatus on which the team made several errors at this summer’s European Championships in Glasgow, Scotland.

“We’ve been doing a lot more numbers, a lot more routines,” she said. “We’ve been doing a lot more pressure sets. We do this thing called Beam Team, where we’ve all got to go straight into our beam routine and try and go through it cleanly, all to try and improve our performances on beam in Doha.”

Fenton said her personal hope is to advance to the apparatus final on uneven bars, after placing 10th in qualifications and serving as first reserve for the final in Montreal.

“I would obviously love to make the bars final, because that’s my best piece and that’s really what I’m aiming for,” said Fenton, who placed first on uneven bars at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia, in April. “I have upgraded my routine. I did try the routine at Europeans, but it didn’t quite go to plan. So again, I’ve just been doing more numbers, and more routines to try and get more consistency under my belt. Hopefully I can perform it well at Worlds.”

Fenton, who placed second on balance beam at the 2017 Challenge Cup of Varna and eighth on floor exercise at the 2018 Europeans, said she can contribute her own mix of assets to the British team’s potential success in Doha.

“I feel like I bring some artistry to the team,” she told IG. “I’m not as powerful as some, but I bring some elegance, good lines and good execution.”

International Gymnast magazine’s coverage of the British women’s team for Doha includes:

Becky Downie cover photo and interview (June 2014)

Ellie Downie cover photo (May 2017)

"A Sorority of Success" - Becky Downie/Ellie Downie interviews (June 2014)

"British Breakouts" - interview with Alice Kinsella (December 2016)

“Great Brits” - Kelly Simm interview (May 2018)

To subscribe to the print and/or digital editions of International Gymnast magazine, or to order back issues, click here.

Written by John Crumlish    Monday, 08 October 2018 07:18    PDF Print
Van Wicklen On Worlds Debut: 'This Is My Time To Prove It'
(1 vote, average 5.00 out of 5)
Colin Van Wicklen, Akash Modi and Alec Yoder had never been to a World Championships, but they were selected at a training camp at the U.S. Olympic Training Center for the 2018 World Championships in Doha, Qatar, later this month. Sam Mikulak and Yul Moldaur, Van Wicklen's former teammat at Oklahoma, will be their teammates in Doha. Van Wicklen told IG that he and his teammates are primed for medal-winning performances. “I thrive on big moments,” said Van Wicklen, who placed eighth all-around, third on vault and third on high bar at the U.S. Championships in Boston in August. “I dream of high-pressure situations because that is where the competitor in me comes out. I was born for this team, this competition and this moment. I'm ready.”

Van Wicklen, who turned 23 on September 22, said he is equally eager to hit the Doha podium with the rest of the U.S. team. The team has the physical and emotional cohesiveness needed to challenge the world’s best, he said.

“We are the underdogs, with a lot to prove,” Van Wicklen said. “This is a young team with tons of experience competing in the NCAA. We know what it means and feels like to be a part of a team. If we can go out and hit 100 percent, we are going to put pressure on a lot of teams. And when pressure is applied, anything can happen. This team has heart. Each and every one of us fully believes that we can win a medal. And that belief can take you a long way.”

The U.S. men’s team finished third at the 2014 Worlds in Nanning, fifth at the 2015 Worlds in Glasgow and fifth at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. Mikulak is the only member of any of those three U.S. teams slated for Doha; he competed in Nanning and Rio.

No team competition took place at the 2017 Worlds in Montreal, where Van Wicklen was an alternate for the U.S. team.

Van Wicklen said the U.S. squad for Doha includes a formidable mix of all-arounders and gymnasts whose best apparatuses should assure an optimal team total.

“With Yul and Sam, we have two of the best all-around gymnasts in the world,” Van Wicklen said. “Both have the potential to win an individual all-around medal. Akash, Alec and I are strong all-around gymnasts, but will be used on our strongest events to provide the highest team score possible. Every guy brings something special, and that is what makes a team competition so incredible to watch and be a part of.”

Van Wicklen said he is content to perform where and as needed in Doha.

“I believe that while I am an all-arounder, I will be used on my strong events,” he said. “I am looking forward to bringing solid scores on floor, vault and high bar to help the team as much as I can. I am also excited about potentially competing on rings for Team USA in prelims and hopefully the team final.”

With team success a priority, Van Wicklen is also keen to achieve at least one personal objective in Doha.

“My main goal is to win a team medal and make a statement to the rest of the world that this U.S. team is for real,” he told IG. “Another big goal I have is to get into the vault final and win a medal. I firmly believe that I challenge for a position as one of the top vaulters in the world and this is my time to prove it.”

IG will be on hand in Doha, where competition begins October 25 with men’s qualifications.

To subscribe to the print and/or digital edition, or to order back issues of International Gymnast magazine, click here.

Written by John Crumlish    Friday, 05 October 2018 11:49    PDF Print
Wong: 'I Find It Rewarding After I Conquer New Hurdles'
(3 votes, average 4.67 out of 5)

Featured in the October 2018 issue of International Gymnast magazine, U.S. junior all-around champion Leanne Wong told IG she enjoys mastering the variety of skills and honing the attributes that have made her a steady, successful all-arounder.

“I am very honored and humbled to be viewed as someone having strength across all four events,” said Wong, whose two-day total score of 112.25 placed her first all-all-around at the U.S. Junior Championships in Boston in August. “I have always loved all four events because they challenge me in different ways mentally and physically to various extents.”

Besides her own incentive, Wong credits Al Fong and Armine Barutyan-Fong, her coaches at Great American Gymnastics Express (GAGE) in Blue Springs, Missouri, for inspiring her to strive for excellence.

“I enjoy learning and getting new skills,” she told IG. “I find it challenging and rewarding after I conquer new hurdles. In addition, the high standards of my coaches and their expectations motivate me to work hard to reach my highest potential in all four events.”

Read a profile on Wong in the October 2018 issue of International Gymnast magazine. To subscribe to the print and/or digital editions, click here.

To subscribe to the print and/or digital edition, or to order back issues of International Gymnast magazine, click here.

Written by John Crumlish    Friday, 28 September 2018 13:02    PDF Print
Turkey's Colak And Yilmaz Determined To Succeed In Doha
(4 votes, average 4.00 out of 5)

Two of four Turkish gymnasts featured in the October 2018 issue of International Gymnast magazine, Ibrahim Colak and Tutya Yilmaz told IG they are aiming for career bests at next month’s 2018 World Championships in Doha, Qatar.

Colak said his main rivals in Doha will include Greece’s Eleftherios Petrounias, behind whom he placed fifth at the 2017 Worlds in Montreal and second at this summer’s European Championships in Glasgow, Scotland.

“Petrounias is very good gymnast and he has a very good character,” Colak said. “He is an idol for so many gymnasts. I’m working hard to defeat him. I can do it, I believe in myself. I don’t know when, but it will be one day.”

Yilmaz, who was third reserve for the balance beam final at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, said she has the ability to make the final in Doha if she performs at her best.

“We have worked hard to improve my D-score,” she told IG. “Now it is time to be consistent in competitions and hit my routine clean. In Doha my first goal is to hit my routine because I know if I can hit the routine, I have the potential to be in the beam final.”

Read “Turkish Delight,” a collection of feature articles including Colak, Yilmaz and fellow Turkish gymnasts Ahmet Onder and Goksu Uctas Sanli, in the October 2018 issue of International Gymnast magazine.

To subscribe to the print and/or digital editions, or to order back issues, click here.


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