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World Championships - My Inside Experience

The World Championships in gymnastics sometimes almost feels bigger than the Olympics because there are so many other countries that are invited other than just the top twelve. It’s an exciting event and I was lucky enough to attend two World Championships for Great Britain during my time as an elite gymnast.   One of the most exciting things was traveling to a new and interesting country whether that be in Europe, Asia, South America, etc. Traveling with your team in your country’s gear is pretty special and nothing beats the...

Health Bites: Shedding Light on the Carbohydrate Debate

By Karen Psiaki, RDN IOC Certified in Sports Nutrition My name is Karen, and I’m a Registered Dietitian as well as a former gymnast. Over the next several weeks, I will be writing about health and nutrition topics for gymnasts, ranging from body image and weight management to hydration, meal timing, and specific nutrient needs. If you have a nutrition question or topic you’d like me to cover, write it in the comment section below or send Gymnastike an email! ------------- I originally posted this blog in January 2014, but I think i...

Global Guys: Athletes to Watch at the 2014 World Championships

As promised, here is the second installment of “Who to Watch” at the 2014 World Championships! Of course we have to start by mentioning the reigning royalty of men’s gymnastics, Kohei Uchimura (JPN), who is the favorite to win the all-around for a 5th time straight. We’ve also seen a lot of the US men lately, especially repeat US national champion Sam Mikulak, who will be looking to earn the AA medal that he missed in 2013. But there are many other fantastic gymnastics from around the globe coming to compete in Nanning,...

The Queen of Worlds Alicia Sacramone

In anticipation for the upcoming World Championships in China, we thought it would be fun to take a look back at one of the USA’s most successful elite gymnasts - Alicia Sacramone. After collecting her tenth World Championship medal in 2011, Alicia became the most decorated US gymnast in the history of the World Championships. Part of Alicia’s success at Worlds can be attributed to her being named to a total of five USA teams. Below are some highlights from Alicia’s past performances on the World Championship stage. 2005 - Me...

Athletes to Watch: 2014 World Championships

As we move closer to the World Championships in Nanning, China, the excitement and tension are building all around the world! We’ve already taken a look at some of the top female contenders, including Aliya Mustafina (RUS), Yao Jinnan (CHN), and of course 2013 gold and silver AA medalists Simone Biles and Kyla Ross (USA). But there are many other noteworthy gymnasts from different countries, and we’d like to take a moment to highlight a few of them here! We'll review the men's field later this week.   Larisa Iordache (ROU): Io...

Health Bites: Timing Is Everything

By Karen Psiaki, RDN IOC Certified in Sports Nutrition My name is Karen, and I’m a Registered Dietitian as well as a former gymnast. Over the next several weeks, I will be writing about health and nutrition topics for gymnasts, ranging from body image and weight management to hydration, meal timing, and specific nutrient needs. If you have a nutrition question or topic you’d like me to cover, write it in the comment section below or send Gymnastike an email! ------------- Who here has ever eaten a meal or a snack in the car while r...

Top Ten Gymnasts with Tattoos

10. Bridget Sloan's Olympic tattoo with Beijing written in chinese. Many of us might not know that she has this hidden, discreet tattoo on her lower right side of her back. 9. Marcel Nguyen from Germany decided to out do everyone and go all out with tattoos... 8. Italy's Vanessa Ferrari went with a pretty ankle piece. 7. Marta Pihan-Kulesza of Poland shows some creativity around her Olympics tattoo. 6. Alicia Sacramone can pull off anything, anywhere, big or small. 5. Eleftherios Kosmidis from Greece has his forearms tattooed with his Wor...

Health Bites: Body Image and Disordered Eating

By Karen Psiaki, RDN IOC Certified in Sports Nutrition My name is Karen, and I’m a Registered Dietitian as well as a former gymnast. Over the next several weeks, I will be writing about health and nutrition topics for gymnasts, ranging from body image and weight management to hydration, meal timing, and specific nutrient needs. If you have a nutrition question or topic you’d like me to cover, write it in the comment section below or send Gymnastike an email! -------------   There’s a logical place to start the discussion...

Smells Like Men's Team Spirit

Smells Like Men's Team Spirit

Karen Psiaki

September 6, 2014, 4:52am

As a former female gymnast, I absolutely love watching elite women’s gymnastics whenever I can. I’m enthralled by the newest skills and combinations being performed, the excitement in the arena , and (I’m not ashamed to admit) the gorgeous leotards. It’s my favorite hobby, hands down! But if I’m being honest, I almost prefer watching the men compete more than the women. I may not know all of the skill names or understand every detail of the scoring like I do on the female side, and the leotards certainly aren&rsqu...

Floor Choreography For The College Recruit

I have a lot of club gymnasts and parents ask me what they should consider when putting their floor routines together to be recruited. Below are a few of the items I try to emphasize:   Music: Be sure it fits your personality. You should LOVE your music!  Unique music is hard to find, but always a plus! If you use slow music, be sure you have the dance background to enhance this.  You don’t want to get lost in the crowd. Often strong beats or unique catchy music attracts the coaches. Performance: College is much different t...

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World Championships: Can the USA retain their dominance in 2014?

Despite the fact that the 2013 World Championships in Antwerp fell just after an Olympic year, when many of the top athletes were taking much needed breaks from the sport to enjoy the celebrity spotlight, the USA team came away with the most medals it has ever won from a World Championship competition – eight medals in total, with a medal won on each event, including the All-Around gold. The year was somewhat unique, in that two of the 2012 Olympians (Kyla Ross and McKayla Maroney) were back in training and competed for the USA Worlds te...

Reflecting on Past National Championships: Part 5 - 2013

Here is the final part in my series on reflecting on past National Championships. Read about 2013 below! With 2013 being a post-Olympic year, there were a lot of new faces on the floor and only a few returning veterans. Kyla Ross and McKayla Maroney had decided to continue their training and were in attendance - Ross was competing All-Around still, while Maroney performed on vault and floor. Ross and Maroney had put together new floor routines, both of which received relatively high scores, particularly Maroney who received a 15.25 on Day 2. M...

Reflecting on Past National Championships: Part 4 - 2012

Here is Part 4 of my five-part series on reflecting on past National Championships - below I discuss the 2012 Nationals. 2012 was an Olympic year, and so the US National Championships were crucial for all the gymnasts involved. After two days of competition, the top eight athletes would automatically move on to the Olympic Trials. Anyone outside of the top eight (such as several event specialists) would need to rely on an invite from Martha Karolyi to move on to Trials as well. Several gymnasts from the 2008 Olympic team were back competing at...

Reflecting on Past National Championships: Part 3 - 2011

Continuing my five-part series on highlights from past US National Championships, see Part 3 below on the 2011 National Championships. The 2011 Visa National Championships was one of the most fascinating, albeit a bit scary, competitions in USA Gymnastics history. There were multiple Olympic comebacks taking place which had started at Classics - Alicia Sacramone continued her comeback from the previous year, adding in floor as well. Chellsie Memmel also came back, and, apart from her fall on bars on day 2 due to injury, was actually one of the...

Reflecting on Past National Championships: Part 2 - 2010

As part of my five-part series on reflecting on past National Championships, here is part two on 2010! In 2010, the reigning champion, Bridget Sloan, had recently suffered a pectoral injury, preventing her from competing on all events except beam at Nationals. This left the stage wide open for Rebecca Bross, who had had a very successful year already, winning All-Around at the American Cup, as well as every other event with the exception of vault. She also won the senior All-Around competition at the Pacific Rim Championships in Australia. Bro...

Reflecting on Past National Championships: Part 1 - 2009

The US Senior Nationals is one of the most important competitions of the year for elite gymnasts. By this time, elites have perfected their routines enough to be at the start of their peak for the season. The goal: To impress Martha Karolyi sufficiently enough to be invited to subsequent National Team camps at the Texas ranch as a first step to making the World Championship team. In Olympic years, it is most exciting, as it’s the final competition before Olympic Trials, where only a select number of gymnasts qualify and are invited to co...

Rutgers Club Gymnastics

Rutgers Club Gymnastics

Jessica Macay

July 9, 2014, 7:22pm

The National Association of Intercollegiate Gymnastics Clubs (NAIGC) seems to be the unsung hero of college gymnastics.   According to the mission statement on naigc.net, the purpose of the program is to build a community that encompasses “sportsmanship, leadership, teamwork, and fun.”  NAIGC is the ideal way to continue gymnastics without the collegiate level obligation. Pictured: 2013 Rutgers club gymnasts Photo by: Caity Britcher The club team at Rutgers University shares the values of NAIGC in their mission statem...

The Quit Factor

The Quit Factor

Jessica Macay

July 5, 2014, 7:49pm

Gymnastics is one of the toughest sports in the world.   Countless hours in the gym, sacrificing a social life, pushing your body to exhaustion, and for what?  To learn that sometimes even if you try your best, it still may not be good enough?  Gymnasts are taught to push themselves almost to their breaking point in order to attain the unattainable: perfection.  But what happens when a gymnast actually reaches his or her breaking point?  How do you know if it’s really time to throw in the towel? Every gymnas...

Collegiate Gymnastics Magnifies the Role of Teamwork

It is every young gymnasts dream to compete at the Olympic games.  Unluckily, the committee is only able to select six gymnasts to represent the United States.  The rest of the talented gymnasts will pursue a new goal.  Aspiring them to look into collegiate gymnastics.   USA Gymnastics is a program based on individual feats.  Gymnasts work their way up, level by level with a desire to win.  Constantly competing against their teammates in hopes of qualifying to a larger competition.  Your teammates are there f...

Liz McNabb's Elite Career and Friendship with Samantha Peszek

Whether fans realize it or not, there is a plethora of collegiate gymnasts who once competed as elites. Sure, gymnastics fanatics recognize gymnasts like Bridget Sloan from elite days due to the Olympics, but there are others who had a shorter and lesser known elite career. One of those gymnasts is Illinois senior Liz McNabb. McNabb was introduced to the sport through her brother who was taking classes to increase his upper body strength. After taking a few classes, she continued to ask her mom if she could go back again and again. Her first c...

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