Category Archives: breaking

CONFIRMED: Nia Dennis Relocates to Illinois, Now training at Legacy Elite

Unusual news hit the gymternet today as U.S. Senior National team member, Nia Dennis, is rumoured to have moved to Illinois recently and is currently training at Legacy Elite Gymnastics in Carol Stream, Ill., just 12 miles away from where this year’s Secret Classic will be held in Hoffman Estates.

The 16 year old, who had been with her previous gym, Buckeye, since 2008, is now said to be training in Illinois. The gym she has moved to, Legacy Elite, has played host to some notable elite gymnasts in the past, namely the Caquatto sistersAnna Li, who’s parents run the gym, as well as Michigan State Spartan gymnast Alina Cartwright.

Currently, the program has one elite gymnast, junior Gabby Perea, but they have a very strong Junior Olympic program and obviously uphold credible elite history. So, now for the speculation. Why has Nia decided to up sticks? and so close to Championship season, too?

Well, an answer is yet to be provided but the gymternet have speculated that the addition of Olympic Champion, Gabby Douglas, may have been a reason because perhaps Nia just doesn’t get given enough attention and has fallen out with coaches. Additionally, infamous gymnastics media website, Gymnastike, could’ve been the cause of the issue. In their recurring series, Between the Routine, they take an inside look into gyms across the country. Often instrusive, the episodes seem to expose gymnasts in a different light and various gymnasts, such as Alexis BeuclerPixie Brock and Emily Gaskins who all moved gyms shortly after their episodes aired. This seems very suspicious to me.

In addition, recent Buckeye gymnast, who used to train in Washington, Shilese Jones, is also said to be moving with Dennis and will stay at their same home. It seems like Legacy Elite is reaping the benefits!

So, who knows what the future holds for Dennis and Jones. All I hope is that it doesn’t dramatically effect their performances as they show so much promise!

Ammendment

I can now confirm Dennis’ move to Legacy Elite as her USA Gymnastics official bio page as been changed.


An article by James Greaves, editor-in-chief

Photo credits: Zimbio

Kiera Brown Dismissed From Georgia, Due to Violation of Team Rules

We’re hearing reports that University of Georgia gymnast and Newport News resident, Kiera Brown has been dismissed from the Georgia Gym Dogs team for the 2016 season. The 20 year old, who trained at World Class Gymnastics throughout her club career, provided strength on all fourteen bars lineups last year and factored into the beam lineup nine times and floor lineup eight times. In addition, she bagged a career high on bars of 9.950 against Utah.

So, how did this come about? Well, allegedly, Brown has been dismissed from the Georgia Gym Dogs team due to violations of team rules, as told by Communications Director, Ben Beaty. Whether Kiera is continuing her education at UGA remains to be seen.

The 2016 roster features all of last year’s team members including three incoming freshmen; Caroline Bradford of Prairieville, La. (Cypress Pointe), Gracie Cherrey of Woodbury, Minn. (TCT) and Sydney Snead of Raleigh, N.C. (Sonshine). Georgia seems to be set for another great year, despite this upsetting loss!

Amendment: Brown has transferred to University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pa., however she is not listed on the 2015-16 team roster!

Pan Ams 2015: Introducing the U.S. Team

Earlier today, USA Gymnastics announced the women’s artistic team delegation that they would be sending to the 2015 Pan American Games; held next month in Toronto, Canada (official press release). The competition will serve as a key event during the Women’s Artistic elite season for USA Gymnastics and the team will look to defend their title that they garnered back in 2011.


Here is a quick fact file on each of the team members;

Nia Dennis

16 years old • Westerville, Oh. • Buckeye • UCLA Bruins

About Nia

In her first year as a senior, Nia is yet to make her senior international debut. Dennis had a very accompolished junior elite career; qualifying to Nationals every year since 2011. Last year, she received two international assingments to the Pacific Rim Championships and the City of Jesolo Trophy and contributed to the team’s successes at both competitions. The Westerville, Ohio native, who committed to the UCLA Bruins team earlier in the year, is strong on all events but particularly on Bars and Vault. Look out for her on those pieces!


Madison Desch

17 years old • Lenexa, Kan. • GAGE • Alabama Crimson Tide

About Madison

Training under elusive coach, Al Fong, Maddie brings extensive experience to this team and is the oldest member of the team, aged 17! A National team member since 2011, Desch has proved herself at Nationals many times and found herself as the reserve for the 2014 U.S. Worlds team last year. Additionally, Maddie has been to various international competitions, also. Bars and Beam are her specialisms but she could contribute on the other two pieces, if needed.


Rachel Gowey

17 years old • Urbandale, Ia. • Chow’s • Florida Gators

About Rachel

Coming off an unfortunate ankle fracture at last year’s Nationals, Gowey looks poised for success this year. Training under world renowned coach, Liang Chow, Gowey transitioned to elite in 2013, as a Senior. A back injury sidelined her from competition that year and in 2014, her ankle fracture ended chances of making the Worlds team. As one of the team’s oldest members, Gowey will provide depth as an all-arounder.


Felicia Hano

16 years old • San Gabriel, Calif. • Gym-Max • UCLA Bruins

About Felicia

This super lovely California gal, hailing out of San Gabriel, has become one of the U.S.’s most consistent elites, in recent years. In 2013, Felicia made her elite debut as a Junior. A year later, she accepted a full-ride scholarship to the UCLA Bruins gymnastics team, and was later added to the 2014-15 U.S. Senior National team. Hano has improved so much in recent years and can definitely help the U.S. on Beam and Floor, for sure.


Amelia Hundley

17 years old • Hamilton, Oh. • Cincinnati • Florida Gators

About Amelia

Amelia, or “Meels” as she’s referred to as, has been on the scene for absolutely ages. Appearing first at the 2010 Nastia Liukin Cup, a meet which is televised, Hundley soon moved up to the Junior International Elite ranks. In 2012, she was part of the U.S. Pacific Rims team, which won the event. Last year, she made her elite debut and competed at the Pan Am Championships in Mississauga. The future Florida Gator, trained by world renowned coach, Mary Lee Tracy, can contribute on Bars and Beam and Floor, most likely.


Lauren Navarro

15 years old • La Verne, Calif. • Gliders • Uncommitted

About Lauren

The youngest member of the team, Navarro is likely to be an unfamiliar face to the international world. Training at Charter Oak Gliders, Lauren moved up to the elite level in 2013 and has placed well ever since. As a Senior, I am not sure what she can bring to the table but she is exceptional on beam; and was capable of hitting 14.800 last year, if she hit. Whether or not she has upgraded since then, look out for her on that event!


Emily Schild

16 years old • Huntersville, N.C. • Everest • Georgia Gym Dogs

About Emily

Schild has done exceptionally well in her first year as a senior, already! Brief history behind her, she moved up to Elite in 2013 but didn’t do very well that year. Last year, Schild sat out the entire year nursing an injury and was fit enough to return this year. An addition to the National team prior to the City of Jesolo Trophy competition, she made that team and finished 16th. She is very strong on Vault and Bars!


Megan Skaggs

16 years old • Marietta, Ga. • GAA • Florida Gators

About Megan

Skaggs is another gymnast who has been very prominent as a Junior. Since 2012, Megan has been elite and has placed well at Nationals every year. Like Schild, she was added to the National Team this year and competed at the City of Jesolo Trophy; finishing 8th. She is very stylish on beam and floor but could contribute on all pieces!


Personally, I cannot wait for this competition! This is a fairly inexperienced U.S. team and the major stars such as Simone BilesKyla Ross and MyKayla Skinner are likely to be resting and finishing preparations for the upcoming elite season. This competition will give the opportunity for the less experienced gymnasts to gain some and understand what it’s like to compete internationally.

Leggo!

BREAKING: Victoria Moors to retire from Gymnastics

It’s a sad day in Gymnastics. Earlier this afternoon, it was announced that 2012 Canadian Olympian, Victoria Moors, will retire from gymnastics. The 18-year old hasn’t yet announced the retirement herself but a twitter account, @ActusGymnastique, tweeted that she has decided to hang up the handguards.

The 2013 Worlds Team member, from Ontario, Canada, was tipped to make the 2016 Olympic team but obviously, it was not mean’t to be! I wish Victoria the best of luck with whatever she decides to do; following her gymnastics career.


An article by James Greaves / editor-in-chief

BREAKING: Ariana Agrapides to retire from Elite, down to Level 10 for the 2016 season

MG Elite gymnast, Ariana Agrapides, is to retire from elite gymnastics. At the age of 14, she has qualified to two U.S. Nationals (2013-14) and was touted to become one of the U.S.’s best vaulters after she developed a strong DTY from a young age.

The Bayville, NJ resident turns senior in 2017, missing age eligibility to Rio 2016 by just 31 days. MG Elite coach, Maggie Haney, confirmed her retirement to an Instagram user in a comment that read; “Ari is not competing elite this year. She will be competing Level 10 with me next year”.

Perhaps, Agrapides is having a break from elite because she is still very young and will return to elite competition nearer the 2020 Olympics. We hope so! However, by the time Tokyo 2020 comes, Ari will be a Freshman in college so she may pursue a college gymnastics career, instead.

For now, we wish Ariana the best of luck with the rest of her gymnastics career; whatever route she takes!


An article by James Greaves / editor-in-chief

An Exclusive with Ariana Berlin

Chatty Gymnast caught up with former UCLA team member and recently turned stunt double, Ariana Berlin, as she prepares for the release of her biopic film, Full Out: The Ariana Berlin Movie. If you’re not aware with Ariana’s story, here it is; Berlin was an elite-level gymnast until 2001, when she and her mother, Susan, were involved in a car accident. Berlin was severly injured and was told that she would never do gymnastics again. After dabbling in street dance, becoming a member of Culture Shock, she then started to perform at SeaWorld San Diego where she met resident summer choreographer and UCLA Head coach, Valorie Kondos Field. Kondos Field admired her determination and philosophy on life and soon offered Berlin a walk-on spot for the UCLA Bruins gymnastics team. After a standout freshman year, in 2006, she was offered a full-ride scholarship and soon became one of the most successful UCLA Bruins gymnasts in history!

She answers some questions we had for her on the release of her film and how her accident has changed her perspective on life, in general.
CG: How do you feel doing gymnastics as a UCLA Bruin helped shape you as a person?

AB: Being a gymnast at UCLA has molded me into the person I am today in many ways.  It taught me that if you really want something, it will require blood, sweat and tears, but it is always worth it.  I’ve learned so much about myself, what makes me tick, how to overcome adversity, how to deal with others in a variety of situations, and how to be a part of something greater than myself.  Being a student-athlete is not easy, but it provides tools that you will use for the rest of your life.

CG:  How has your outlook on life differed since your accident?

AB: I live each day to the absolute fullest; there are no promises for tomorrow.  It helps me put things into perspective when I’m having a bad day and things just aren’t going my way.  I refer back to the accident and know, if I got through that, I can get through anything.

CG: Talking about the film, what can we expect from it?

AB: You can expect an extremely fun, energetic and uplifting inspirational comeback story that is relatable to anyone who has gone through adversity.

CG: Was it emotional for you to watch the filming and to see it all come together?

AB: It was extremely emotional.  I was onset during the entire month of filming and watching the story come to life was surreal.  The most emotional part was when my family visited set.  They were the ones that lived through the accident with my Mom and I and now, almost 14 years later we were reliving that moment in time through the filming process.  Also, at the screening in San Diego, all of my closest friends and family who supported me throughout the accident and recovery were there supporting the film.  That was very emotional.

CG: You did all your own stunts, right. How hard was it to get back into shape and get your skills back?

AB: It was very difficult getting back into shape.  Thankfully I had our assistant UCLA Gymnastics coach, Randy Lane help me with the process.  I trained with him about 3 days a week for a little over month before we began filming.  I was sore for weeks!!!  After the soreness dissipated, the skills came back fairly easily.  It’s all muscle memory.

CG: Was it hard to find the cast? How did you go about the process?

AB: Our Executive Producer, Jeff Deverett worked with a casting director in Toronto to find all of the talent.  I wasn’t able to attend the auditions, but Jeff sent me videos of the acting and dance auditions.  I wasn’t involved too much in the process, but I think they did an excellent job at casting each role.

CG: The majority of filming was shot in Canada, if I am correct. How come you didn’t stay local and film in LA?

AB: The main reason we shot in Canada was because our Executive Producer and Director are Canadian and we received great tax benefits.

CG:  Will the film ever be theatrically released? Have you been to any film festivals?

AB: We are in the distribution process right now.  We do have hopes for a theatrical release, but I do not know the specifics just yet.

CG: Describe, in three words, Full Out: The Ariana Berlin Movie!

AB: Never Give Up (that sounds so corny, but it is the essence of Full Out)

CG: What would your message be to anyone in a similar position to what you were in?

AB: My message is; ‘Life is not always a fairytale story with a fairytale ending.  There are bound to be challenges, but it’s how you choose to handle life’s challenges that defines who you are’.

Ariana’s story is the epitome of determination and hardwork and the film is going to be beautiful! It will capture the essence of what it means to be a gymnast and what it means to overcome anything and follow your dreams. And as is depicted in the movie, ‘sometimes you have to fall before you can fly’.

You can watch the trailer below;


An article by James Greaves, editor-in-chief

Jenny Rowland to serve as Florida’s New Head Coach

Auburn assistant coach and former elite gymnast, Jenny Rowland, will serve as Florida Gators’ new Head coach. The Arizona State alumni, who has been with Auburn since 2010, has a huge task ahead of her as the Gators are the reigning NCAA Champions, and have been since 2013.

Former head coach, Rhonda Faehn, has recently taken a role as Senior Vice President at USA Gymnastics, as previously publicised.


An article by James Greaves, editor-in-chief

 

College: Shchennikova to Michigan for the 2016-17 season

Senior elite gymnast, Polina Shchennikova, has committed to the Michigan Wolverines gymnastics team for the 2016-17 season.

The Russian-American gymnast, who lives in Arvada, Colorado and trains under the tutelage of her parents; Katya and Alex, has vast elite experience under her belt as a Junior but was unable to make her Senior debut last year because she was nursing various injuries. Shchennikova will return for the 2015 elite season as a Senior and is aiming for Rio.

Congratulations Polina!

Tabitha Yim to serve as Arizona Wildcats’ New Head Coach

Stanford team member and former elite gymnast, Tabitha Yim, has been named as the Arizona Wildcats women’s gymnastics Head Coach, following the retirement of former head coach and successor, Bill Ryden.

The news was announced earlier today through the Arizona Wildcats official website. The 29 year old has said “I’m excited to join the Arizona family and am looking forward to building off of the tradition of success that Coach Gault and Coach Ryden started here. I am passionate about creating a legacy that the program, university, and community can be proud of – not only because of the student-athletes’ success in the gym, but also because of their integrity and heart in all aspects of their life. I will forever remain thankful for the support of Kristen Smyth, Chris Swircek, and the Stanford staff, and I’m grateful to Greg Byrne and the Arizona staff for entrusting me with taking the program to the next level.”

Personally, I cannot wait to see Yim take over the Wildcats team!


Read the full article here

PHOTO: Aly Raisman, Simone Biles embrace being short!

2012 Olympic Champion, Aly Raisman and 2014 World Champion, Simone Biles, embrace the shortness in a cute pic Aly posted on her twitter feed. The picture is of them at Jesolo this year and the caption reads “. looks like a little baby here. I should’ve just picked her up and held her 

So cute.

Happy Cinco de Mayo, readers!