World Of Gymnastics

1:20 AM


Another edition of the "World of Gymnastics" program on Australia's subscription television provider Foxtel has been aired. The half an hour program airs on the Eurosport network. Featured on this month's show are Ireland's Olympic Gymnast Kieran Behan, the competition from the Osijek World Cup in Artistic Gymnastics, and the action from the 2012 USA VISA National Championships!

First up the VISA National Championships. Apparently it's not all about winning for the gymnasts, sometimes they play it safe in order to not make mistakes to secure a spot in the Olympic Trials. This year, the competition was held in the Chaifetz Arena in St. Louis, Missouri. The battle came right down to the wire between John Orozco and Danell Leyva. 

Danell, was the 2011 National Champion and has the special support of his step-father and trainer Yin Alvarez. Yin says "My goal is I want to create an Olympian, that's my dream". Danell says that "When I land and he goes crazy I feel like, yes! I did good" and that "Sometimes when I am not doing well and he goes crazy, he gives me energy to keep fighting". Yin says "Like Oh My God, Wow, Fantastic! On the inside I'm thinking I am the one to do the skills". "What makes Danell special is what he does in his mind. Everything he did before, is what makes him who he is now. I think I was the right person for Danell because he's kinda like me. We're going to risk everything, we're gonna give it everything we have for what we love." 

Danell reflects that "Even though we're not related by blood, he's really taught me and made me who I am".  They program then showed Danell's High Bar routine from the All Around competition and then his Parallel Bars from the Event Finals at the 2011 World Championships. Yin says "Danell doesn't want to make the Olympics, he wants to win the Olympics".

And they show the full routines of Danell on Parallel Bars and Still Rings and Orozco on the Floor Exercise and Still Rings, And of course they then recapped the results for the men, making special note of Jonathan Horton!

Kieran Behan hails from Surrey, England and has triumphed over adversity, all the while maintaining his dreams. At the age of 10, a tumor was discovered in his thigh and the surgery to remove it resulted in severe nerve damage, that has left him with limited feeling in one foot. Fifteen months in a wheelchair ensued, but that was just the start of Kieran's "war stories", as he was then told by doctors that he would never walk again. After confounding the medical experts, Kieran not only learned to walk, but also returned to the gym to continue with the sport he loved. But fate again dealt him a blow two years later as he fell from the High Bar, causing damage to his vestibular canal in his inner ear, which affected his balance and sidelined him for three years. 

"Kieran's been through an awful lot since he was a very young age. From the age of ten he suffered a number of injuries which hindered his development, but now he's in a very good situation and managed to qualify for the Olympic Games." said his coach Demetrios Bradshaw. Kieran says "Like you say, it's a triumph over adversity. Like you say I have had numerous setbacks in my career. I mean pretty much half of my career I've been injured but it's brilliant to know that people can pull through things like that, whether they're an athlete or whether they're an everyday person, to know that how strong mentally they can be and making sure that you have the right people around you. I mean I wouldn't be where I am today, if it wasn't for my family and my friends and my coaches and everyone that pulled together and really believed in me and what we can do." And what Kieran has done, is to become only the second Irish gymnast (after Barry McDonald in 1996) to compete at an Olympic Games despite next to no financial backing, with Kieran's parents going without a holiday for ten years to help their son reach his goal. Kieran says "it's absolutely amazing, I mean it, to be in all honesty, it really hasn't sunk in yet. I mean, I just get goosebumps every time I think I'm actually going to the Olympic Games. Even the other day, I got a phone call from my mom and she was saying  something about my relatives that are coming over. They haven't got tickets, but they're coming over just cos they know how good it's going to be, just even after I've competed just to go back to the house and have a little bit of a party and things like that. It really hasn't sunk in yet".

Simon Gale and Bradshaw coach Behan and they say that he is as thankful to them as he is to everyone else who has supported him through thick and thin. One unlikely avenue of support came from English Premier League team Fullham. "Yeah it's been amazing. Since I qualified and I've had so many who have come forward. And Fullham was one of them and it's absolutely brilliant. I mean one of my coaches is such a big Fullham fan as well. So it's brilliant when I take him along and the guys there are absolutely amazing. I mean the facilities that they have medical wise is unreal, I mean going in there and I had a slight foot problem, I think it was my talus bone or something was out and that was just before the Test Event and one of the guyys at Fullham had been really trying to get that back in, and he got it back in the other day. So the impact that they're having to make sure that I go into each training session physically prepared and physically ready is absolutely incredible and again I am so thankful and grateful that people out there can support me and help me achieve my goals."

Now back to the Women's competition at the VISA Championships. First up Nastia Liukin. We saw her entire Balance Beam routine. We got to see Jordyn Wieber's Uneven Bars routine and Douglas' fall on the Balance Beam. Another star in Saint Louis was Alicia Sacramone and yay! We got to see most of her day two Beam routine. We also got so see Wieber's vault and Douglas' Uneven Bars routine, plus a short recap on the top three results. And then they launched into a brief spiel of the Olympic Trials, which were held in San Jose. However, I think they got their information from goodness knows where with them reporting that Elizabeth Price was named to the team over McKayla Maroney - can anyone say apology needed next month?!!? 

Onto Osijek! We got to see Canada's Christine Lee's full Uneven Bars performance, as well as that of Poland's Marta Pihan-Kulesza with them coming one-two on the Bars. Giulia Steingruber's second vault was shown as too was Canadian's Elsabeth Black's. Final results on the Vault, were Black, Steingruber and Brazilian Lais Da Silva Souza. Can I say that I love Black's Floor routine! Steingruber's is pretty good too - They shared gold for the Floor Exercise podium. And they also showed Giulia's Balance Beam routine - she earned herself a gold medal in Osijek for it. They made no mention of the Men's Competition in Osijek though which was disappointing. 

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