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With more than 80,000 participants the Internationales Deutches Turnfest 2013 should prove to be a spectacular event this month – and The Zone will be part of it.
Featuring sporting enthusiasts from around the globe, gymnastics will be at the heart of this week-long festival in Mannheim, Germany. With competitions, group performances, entertainment and galas from 18th-25th May this is the go-to destination for everything gymnastics!
Following on from the popularity of our stand at the World Gymnaestrada in Switzerland, The Zone are looking forward to getting the show on the road and meeting up with old friends and new. With performances from all disciplines of gymnastics, we’re sure to be spell-bound by the synchronised Team Gym displays, mesmerised by the ribbons and grace of the rhythmic competitors, and amazed by the precision and strength of the artistic gymnasts. We hope to see you there!
2013 sees the UK return of the most phenomenal performing organisation in the world – Cirque du Soleil. The company’s success since its beginning in 1984 has been extraordinary, and any one of the company’s millions of followers will recount endless words in its praise; from mystifying to spectacular. With all of the flips, twists, jumps and leaps involved in a performance at the Cirque, it is clear that ground-breaking gymnastics remains at the core of the company’s success; but what is it like for performers employed by Cirque du Soleil and what can a budding gymnast do to become a part of the excitement?
Leeds-born gymnast Sarah Turner was scouted by the company from the age of 14, when she was spotted as a competing gymnast. At the age of 21 she was hired for the touring production Kooza and hasn’t looked back since. Her travels with the Cirque have taken her as far as Seattle, Miami and Tokyo; and along the way her fellow performers have become family. The Cirque takes care of their stars, giving them everything they need so that they can concentrate fully on their performance; this even includes a weekly Sunday brunch!
“Nobody likes to work on a Sunday when performances are earlier than other days so it's nice to have the works: sausage, eggs, bacon, toast and cake... Although I always make the mistake of eating a little bit too much before the first show.”
“The Kooza cast is like a big family” – The cast of Kooza (above)
So how can a gymnast give themselves a chance at joining the Cirque? Well, the company employs a large team of talent scouts, each committed to searching the globe for future stars of the stage. Former gymnastics World Championship gold medallist Kristen Allen describes her first contact with one of Cirque du Soleil’s many talent scouts, and what she considers young gymnasts can do to get themselves noticed:
“He contacted us two weeks after we sent in our letter of retirement to FIG (International Gymnastics Federation) to offer us a position in the show Viva ELVIS. It was the perfect transition. We were in Las Vegas just a month after we finished competing.”
“Keep being passionate about the sport and develop the performance aspect of your routines. Also, consider taking some acting and dance classes on the side, because it will help your performance within the sport as well as in a future career.”
Kristin Allen and Michael Rodrigues performing Suspicious Minds in the Las Vegas show Viva ELVIS, presented by Cirque du Soleil (above).
To find out more about Cirque du Soleil click here
For information on July’s UK touring show Alegría click here
For our GB gymnasts the last few weeks have been hectic to say the least, with British and World events being held across the globe in places like Liverpool, Doha and Tokyo. Impressive performances from the likes of Daniel Purvis, Gabby Jupp and Max Whitlock have furthered our already enormous pride in Britain’s star gymnasts. So with all of the excitement, it has been easy to forget that Moscow and the European Championships are looming ever closer for 10 of our finest performers.
Competition will commence on the 17th of this month, with Dan Purvis, Max Whitlock and Zone model Theo Seager making up part of the 6 man team, who are out to replicate the successes of last year’s event in Montpellier, where the men claimed all-around gold! With Olympic heroes and experienced all-arounders Louis Smith and Kristian Thomas out of the team this time around, Britain’s male gymnasts certainly have their work cut out for them. But we should be confident after good runs of performance for all of this year’s team members, including Dan Keatings, who is aiming to build on his 2 individual golds at the British Championships last month.
Our 4 female performers have also had a successful run up to Moscow, with 15 year old Gabby Jupp heading the team, after winning 3 golds at the British Championships. Fellow starlets Ruby Harrold and Zone model Charlie Fellows will also compete alongside 2008 Olympian Beckie Downie, who is making a welcome return to the British team. With a healthy balance between experience and youth, along with good recent results, our female gymnasts could be in for big things this week. We wish them the best of luck!
Ruby Harrold, Becky Downie, Gabby Jupp and Charlie Fellows preparing to set off for Moscow
The European Championships will be broadcast on Friday and Sunday from 13:00 on BBC2, for those wishing to watch the action at home. Alternatively, you can keep up to date with proceedings via twitter, with @BGMediaTeam posting regular updates.
Britain's gymnasts have performed well at the FIG World Cup in Tokyo this weekend, with Liverpool pair Daniel Purvis and Charlie Fellows both finishing strongly in the competition.
Daniel Purvis put in an exceptionally strong performance to secure World Cup Bronze in Tokyo. Yet another outstanding showing means the Liverpool-born gymnast has finished the FIG all-around season in second place - a fantastic advertisement for British Gymnastics! Dan finished with a score of 89.250, behind Ukraine's Oleg Vernyayev (90.375) and Japan's Ryohei Kato (90.175).
Daniel Purvis on his way to securing bronze! (above)
Britain was also represented well in the female competition, as Zone model Charlie Fellows kicked off her senior International career with a bang, taking 6th place in the all-around with a score of 53.525. This comes as the latest in a string of good performances, with the 16 year old having already claimed second at the British Championships last month - all of this coming in her first senior gymnastics season!
With promising results from both gymnasts it comes as no surprise that the duo were recently named as part of the Great Britain squad for the 2013 European Gymnastics Championships in Moscow later this month. They'll be joining the likes of Max Whitlock, Theo Seager (fellow model for The Zone), Gabby Jupp and others, to compete for all-around and individual apparatus success. The Zone team would like to wish the whole of the GB team good luck!
It seems that yet another world class gymnast is attempting to find glory in reality television - but this time across the pond! The last 6 months have seen success from 2 of Britain's greatest ever Olympic gymnasts Louis Smith in Strictly Come Dancing and Beth Tweddle in Dancing on Ice. Now we see 2 time Olympic gold medallist and US team captain Aly Raisman competing in US Strictly equivalent: Dancing With the Stars.
Aly Raisman and her partner Mark Ballas (above)
Aly has been tipped by the American Press and public as a star of the show, with much pressure on her she is aiming to fill the shoes of 3 other Olympic athletes who have gone on to win the competition; Apolo Ohno, Kristi Yamaguchi and Shawn Johnson. Indeed the three time Olympic medallist has remained a consistent high scorer, even topping the leaderboard in the first week with a score of 21. However she will need to work hard to keep up with the competition; country music singer Kellie Pickler has finished atop the leaderboard in both of the last 2 weeks, proving herself an early favourite.
Of course as a reigning Olympic champion, with all of her commitment and sporting prowess we might expect Aly Raisman to excel in the latter stages of the show, taking the competition's prized Mirror Ball trophy. But how should we view this next gymnastic attempt at reality TV fame? Rather than observing it with a hint of Olympic bitterness, in an 'Our gymnasts are better dancers than yours' way, surely we should keep a hopeful eye on the Web, with confidence of yet more success for a gymnast in another aspect of the Public Eye? After all, surely any victory can only be positive for Gymnastics, which can only lead to an even brighter future for the sport.
Aly Raisman and partner Mark Ballas dancing the Viennese Waltz in week 3. The pair earned a respectable 23 points for their beautiful routine. (above)
To keep up to date with Aly's progress on the show click here
The future for British gymnastics looks bright, with our Olympic heroes and rising stars stunning crowds at Liverpool's Echo Arena last weekend.
Crowd-pleasers Louis Smith and Kristian Thomas were both absent from proceedings, but this took nothing away from the usual spectacle of the British Championships. Saturday's Artistic Senior Competition saw pommel horse pro, Max Whitlock, dethrone three time reigning champion Daniel Purvis in the all-around standing, his first competition since the Olympics proving a bold first step towards Rio. In Sunday's finals Dan Keatings stole the show, winning masters titles on the pommel horse and parallel bars, taking his gold medal tally for the weekend up to five! Delighted with his performance Dan tweeted:
Thanks everyone!!!! That's me just got home I'm so tired lol was a long but successful weekend :) 5golds out of 6 events #boom well happy— Dan Keatings (@DanKeatings) March 24, 2013
Dan Keatings spinning his way to success on the pommel horse (above)
But Dan wasn't the only gymnast dazzling crowds this weekend... 19 year old Sam Oldham impressed on the Floor yet again, adding a gold medal to his growing collection of achievements. Sunday's events also saw Bury's Theo Seager see off competition in the vault and rings, grabbing titles in both disciplines.
The weekend's main surprise came from 15 year old Gabby Jupp, in only her second senior event the up-and-coming starlet didn't let experience stand in her way, consistently sensational performances on successive days resulted in the all-around title, and masters title in the beam and floor events. The awestruck champion said of her win:
"I didn't really expect to win on my first year senior, I never thought i'd be British Champion, it's amazing!"
Gabby has certainly made her mark in Liverpool; she was a torch bearer in London last year but is showing glimpses of bigger things in 2016. Indeed fellow rising stars Charlie Fellows (regular model for The Zone), 16, and Niamh Rippin,18, attained second and third in the all-around, providing promising insight into 2016's proceedings
Gabby Jupp's finals floor routine (above)
Olympic medalist Beth Tweddle has done it again. She is a champion once more , but this time in Iceskating not in gymnastics.
Beth and Ice partner Dan Whiston Lifted the” Dancing on Ice “Trophy on Sunday night, after 10 weeks of gruelling training including a live performance every Sunday night. Beth took on the new challenge with excellent results, even from week one she was skating really well showing off some cool moves never seen before on the show.
The Final was decided by a public vote, and even though Beth was slightly lower on points from the judges than her rival Matt Lapinskas, when the final vote came in Beth had won!!
The Public have really supported her through the series, Beth was the only competitor never to have been in the bottom two “ Skate-off ” showing that the public vote was always in her favour.
What will be next for Beth … who knows?
She said: ‘I have not turned my back on gymnastics, still training & can’t wait to watch everyone at the British Championships.’
‘I really don’t know if it’s the end for me and gymnastics. I need to know in my heart what I want to do.’
No doubt she will have love and support from her many fans in whatever she does.
Olympic gymnast Louis Smith must be used to receiving Medals after his Olympic success but this medal must top them all. An MBE presented to him by the Queen.
The proudest day of his life didn’t get off to a great start though, as he turned up at the Palace without his invitation! Apparently his manager was to blame and he tweeted: “Hahaha not the greatest start. @gabstone9 forgot our invites to Buckingham Palace. Not quite as easy getting in as a school disco #oops.”
Louis just keeps on winning! After starting Gymnastics at the age of 4, initially to help him burn off some excess energy to aid his severe ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). He has gone from strength to strength and 2012 saw him receive not one but two medals at the London Olympic Games.
A Silver medal for the Pommel horse and a bronze in the men’s team competition. He then he went on to win BBC dance series Strictly Come Dancing.
This leaves us with just one question….What next?
Well it looks like we may not see much of Louis on the TV.
After leaving The Palace he said:
"As athletes, we have a big responsibility to keep the legacy [of London 2012] going. I'm starting to take a step back from the entertainment side and move into charity and school work"
Whatever Louis does, and wherever he goes I am sure he will succeed and continue to be a Huge Inspiration to us all.
You can Follow Louis on Twitter: @louissmith1989
And check out Louis’ web page here
Jennifer Pinches , 2012 British Womens Team Gymnast, and also One of The Zone’s Favourite Models, left the world Gymnastics stage shortly after the Olympics, and headed to Equador to do some volunteer work.
The GB Women’s team finished sixth in the team finals earlier this year, their best ever Result, a fantastic achievement following all the girls hard work and determination.
Jennifer said “It’s everything I could have dreamed of and more. I am so glad to have represented Britain. The Atmosphere and the home crowds were inspiring and I am so grateful to everyone who has supported me to get here. I have achieved my life’s goal by becoming an Olympian !
See Jenni on you Tube
Jenni has been posting snippets of her adventures in Equador on Twitter , you can follow her on @Jempin515 and very soon you will be able to follow her story on her blog.. To view Jennie’s blog click this link and see what she’s up to.
check out Jenni's blog here
No doubt Jennie will have had a fantastic time , and I am sure she has lots of very exciting projects lined up for the future.
We at “THE ZONE” would like to wish her All the best for the Future, in what ever she does, I am sure she will excel at any task set in front of her”
THE ZONE TEAM
86 Year old Johanna Quass shows us she still has what it takes to be a gymnast. She was officially named as the worlds oldest gymnast in the Guiness book of records last month.
Johanna Quaas, born on November 20, 1925, is a regular competitor in the amateur Landes-Seniorenspiele competition in Saxony, Germany.
“I do think I could be seen as a role model,” Quaas said.
“Especially for older people, like myself, it's important that they start easy and they build up the foundation and they build up the physique.”
Lots of ex- competitive gymnasts do stay in the sport when they retire from competition, they have a lot of knowledge to pass on to the younger generation. Most continue as coaches and stay connected to the sport they Love, It becomes a way of life not “just a job”. It’s is great to see they they can also keep up the fitness, and continue to enjoy the training.
The London Gymnastics Festival will be held again this year at the Brentwood Centre
on Doddinghurst Road CM15 9NN.
It all Kicks off with Friday’s Gala Performance including some fantastic displays from Marshal Corp Cheer & Dance, Phoenix Illiusion, Shooting Stars, Shirley Gym Club ( London), Zodiac ( London) Middlesborough, and the National Disabilities Display Team. A fantastic Explosion of Gym, Dance and Cheer to start the weekend off with lots of energy and no doubt some great costumes, and music too!
Then we have a full program on Saturday and Sunday, filled with some great showstoppers, like Sutton school of Gymnastics, Spirit, Mickleover, Rowan, Spartans, to name just a few. The performances start at 10am and Tickets are still available if you hurry.
Tickets can be bought from www.ticketweb.co.uk and also on the door if there are any Seats left.
For more information you can go to www.londongym.org.uk
Also The Zone will have a fantastic range of leotards on sale from great priced training leotards starting at £15.95 to the newest designs from the new Brochure. You will find us in the shopping mall Marquee at the entrance to the Brentwood Centre, so come along and pick up some early Christmas presents!
Louis Smith is set to go for gold again this month, but not in Gymnastics, he is taking part in the BBC’S Strictly Come Dancing. Hosted by Bruce Forsyth and Tess Daley.
The new Series started with a bang last weekend, with a two night spectacular. Louis danced in the second group on Saturday night and wowed us with a great opening Cha Cha Cha. There was nobody sent home this week as the scores will carry over to this weekend dancing.
Let’s hope Louis can stay in the competition all the way and give us chance to see many more of the dances he will be working so hard to master.
Due to the outstanding success for TEAM GB GYMNASTICS in this years Olympic games, Gym clubs across the country are being bombarded with calls for new starters. With the sessions bulging at the seams and waiting lists growing, it looks like gymnastics has had a huge boost in popularity.
This summer the whole country watched as the medals rolled in, making this the most successful Olympics the British Gymnastics teams have ever seen.
Who can forget the nail biting tension as the men’s team won Bronze…then Silver… then back to Bronze again! and the stunning bars routine which finally gave Beth Tweddle her well deserve Olympic Bronze!
Who knows maybe the surge of new talent may bring us even more medals in the future, giving us all lots to look forward to. Exciting times for the future of gymnastics in Britain.
Olympic Gymnast Beth Tweddle is still Flying High following her medal success, by Wing-Walking over the Gloucestershire Countryside.
Britain's most successful gymnast, Beth Tweddle who won the bronze medal on Bars only a few weeks ago, has decided now is the Time to take some risks!
"It was amazing. One minute I was sat on the floor then the next minute I was in mid-air. It was awesome," she said, after being strapped to a vintage biplane, taking to the air, then landing at Rendcomb Airfield.
"It was brilliant - I loved every minute of it. We went up for seven or eight minutes and then it started raining so we came down and then went back up again for about 15 minutes.
"I wasn't nervous but my mum and dad who came down to watch me were nervous - especially when I was doing the loop the loop and rolls. The pressure up there is quite intense - I had quite a sore neck afterwards."
She said there were lots of different things she had not been able to do in the past due to the risk of injury that she now wanted to experience.
"Right now, I want to make the most of every opportunity while I can. I did a bit of abseiling the other day and did some ice skating and I've got a snowboarding lesson next week so I'm trying lots of different things,"
She said she was yet to think about her long-term plans but had decided she wanted to remain involved in gymnastics.
"I just want every child to have the opportunity to have a go at gymnastics," she said
"I'm hopefully going to do a sky dive early next year. I just want to have a go at everything."
Well, best of Luck Beth, you deserve to let your hair down a bit.
Ant and Dec on the new Saturday Night prime time ITV programme "RED OR BLACK"
Anyone watching Red or Black on ITV this Saturday will know the answer!
Two gymnasts Anthony Hughes and David Mott, had to battle it out on the pommel horse, whilst the Rizzle Kicks perform their brand new single ‘Down With The Trumpets’.
The one with the most rotations would be daclared the winner.
The winner was David Mott in Black with 68 rotations, Anthony managed a very impressive 61.
On last weeks episode we also saw Professional gymnast Sally Miller (red) and acrobatic and circus performer Lisa Whitmore (black) walking on their hands across a tricky assault course.
Gymnastics is getting some great TVexposure, let’s hope it inspires the youngsters of today to take up the sport!
This year to compliment the new styles in our New Fantastic Leotard Range 2012, we have also Created a brand new “ZONE LOGO”
The Logo has changed in colour over the past few years but now it’s time for a new Style.
Simplified and sleeker, the new leotard Logo really stands out in a crowd!
Here are some past “Zone Brand” logo’s you may recognise.
Check out your old leotards and brochures, how many of these can you spot?
SO… who won the medals?
Beth Tweddle MBE won BRONZE in the women’s uneven bars final; the first ever individual medal for British Gymnastics and the first medal otherwise since the 1928 Games team bronze in Amsterdam.
Beth:- “It’s the best feeling in the world to win the bronze medal, there was one point today I thought I’d end in 4th like in Beijing 08, so I’m really happy. This was the one medal missing from my collection; this is the one I really wanted. I tried to keep calm and do what I do best and the crowd were amazing, as soon as I walked into the arena it was incredible. I haven’t made any future plans yet, I definitely won’t be in Rio but I’m happy to go home now and have a bit of a holiday and get back into the gym; if my hearts in it I will continue. I had a step on my dismount but at the end of the day I had to go for the difficult dismount to challenge for a medal. To be honest I could say ‘what if’ but I’m not disappointed in the slightest, any medal, any colour is what I always said I wanted, so I’m extremely happy.”
Louis Smith and Max Whitlock took SILVER and BRONZE in the men’s artistic pommel horse final; the first silver medal for GB in gymnastics since the 1908 London Games and the first silver individual apparatus medal in history.
Louis :- “I competed one of the best routines of my life and it was tough waiting for the score but to come second to one of the best pommel horse workers the worlds ever seen- I’m a lucky guy. I knew I had to go for my harder routine for the final as soon as I qualified and I’m very happy I went with that choice, I scored a 16 for the first time in a major competition so I’m very pleased. To do that routine in this Olympic Games in front of a home crowd and my friends and family, regardless of the score or position, it was amazing.”
Max :- “The success British Gymnastics had in Beijing really inspired me and hopefully the success we have had here will bring more recognition to the sport. It’s an honour to finish beneath Berki and Louis and to get a bronze in my first Olympic Games is unbelievable. I don’t think this will sink in for a long time, my goal when I arrived was to do well for the team and just make a final but to come away with two bronze medals is incredible.”
It was a fantastic Games this year on Home ground, with amazing results. Well done to all Gymnasts who competed, showing lots of potential for 2016 in Rio.
It seems only yesterday that it was confirmed that London will host the 2012 Olympics. And now here we are, not much more than a year until it all kicks off.
British Gymnasts will be particularly excited about competing in front of a home crowd and hopes are high for medals. Over the coming months, we will be profiling British Gymnasts we expect to see in London in 2012, starting today with Daniel Keatings.
Daniel Keatings, of Corby, specialises in men's artistic gymnastics. The 21 year old is a big hope for team GB. He started his career at the tender age of 5, was selected for the British team at just 10 and has, since then, represented Scotland at the 2006 Commonwealth Games, represented Great Britainat the World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in 2007 and the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. His trophy cabinet is already well populated, with the gymnast having won a silver medal in the Artistic Gymnastics World Championships. He became the first Brit to win a medal in an all round event. Add that to a host of medals he won as a youngster and a 2010 European Championships Gold on the pommel horse, amongst others, and it's safe to say he's performed well.
Daniel is tipped for success in London in 2012 and we will be watching this one closely!
We are currently looking for gymnasts to appear in The Zone's next brochure, which will be shot during May or June of this year.
For further information please e-mail email@example.com
Please note that we can only accept correspondence from
So, we all know that we’re crazy about our leotards, but it seems we’re not the only ones! In fact,if you switched on your telly last night and managed to see ‘Freddie Flintoff Versus the World,’ (shown on ITV4 at 9pm on 25th Jan) you might have got an eyeful of Freddie Flintoff and Darren Gough donning men’s leotards. And they weren’t just any leotards, of course. They were in fact leotards from The Zone.
The guys put our kit to the test with a round of Luche Libre challenge wrestling.
Image as seen on the Daily Mail website.
Well, we think they wear them very, very well!
Keeping up with the latest and greatest in gymnastics fashions can be a bit of a burden on the bank balance at times. And that’s why we’re always keen to showcase spectacular special offers, enabling you to get high quality and great looking gym wear at excellent value.
And we all love a bargain in the post-Christmas sales, don’t we? So why not check out The Zone special offers to find out where you can get a great deal. We’ve got dozens of special offers available, with girls’ leotards starting from as little as £17.95 and stylish hipster style shorts from just £12.95.
All of our products come with the same high quality and are designed by people who really understand what they must be made to do. That’s why all our gymnastics clothing is functional and comfortable and, to add to that, it looks fantastic too!
You can find all of The Zone’s fantastic special offers right here. Get a great deal before they’re all gone!
For any of you not subscribed to our newsletter, you might have missed the shout out about our limited edition Comet Hipster shorties!
With two starburst jewelled motifs featured and availibility in three equally dramatic colours, they're rather a spectacular way to accessorise your gymnastics look!
And what a great stocking filler for those of you looking to stock up on great looking gifts for the gymnastics enthusiasts in your life!
Prices range from £16.95 - £19.95 and they're available right now from here. Get your hands on them now!
We’re all internet barmy! The world wide web has taken ”convenience” to a whole new level enabling people to bank online, communicate with friends and family online, shop and have said shopping delivered to their door.
One of the greatest things about the Internet is that people can share their opinions through a wide number of potential platforms to a global audience. Blogs, in particular are a great source of news, gossip and opinion and there are blogs about – everything! Gymnastics is no exception. Here are 3 gymnastics blogs well worth a read:-
Amy’s Gymnastics Blog
Hosted on massive site, about.com, Amy’s Gymnastics Blog has a huge audience and is updated frequently. A great source of gymnastics news.
The Couch Gymnast
This blog recently moved from Blogspot onto its own domain. The Couch Gymnast is a very established blog and is frequently updated. It covers everything from the latest events to the lowdown on the leotards being worn at them!
Full Twist is another brilliant and regularly updated blog. This covers international gymnastics news and is one you should really add to your blog reader.
Know of any more brilliant gymnastics blogs? Leave a comment and let us know about them too!
5 of the Best Ever Gymnasts!
Over the years, there have been some phenomenally talented gymnasts gracing the Olympic stage. They’ve hailed from all corners of the globe but here we take a look at just 5 of them.
Born in 1946, Sawao Kato is a Japanese gymnast. He is widely considered one of the best of all time. Participating in his first Olympics in the later sixties, he finished his career with a whopping 12 Olympic medals to his name.
Dmitry Vladimirovich Bilozerchev
This Russian Gymnast won a special accolade – the youngest male world Gymnastics champion, achieving that at the tender age of 16, back in 1983. The numerous medals that followed made him one of the best gymnasts ever to compete.
Arguably the best American gymnast in history, Conner is the only American gymnast to have won gold at every level of competition you can partake in.
Moving on the female gymnasts for our final 2 mentions, we cannot possibly omit this incredibly talented Russian. She remains the female gymnast with the most Olympic Medals to her name – 18 to be precise. And if that were not impressive enough, half of them are gold!
We’ll finish this list of five with Olga Korbut, the Belarusian gymnast who won 4 gold and 2 silver Olympics medals. She is famed for making gymnastics a “younger” sport and is often credited with a huge surge in popularity of the sport.
This is just 5 of dozens we could really argue a case for including.
Who is your personal favourite?
Following the recent World Gymnastics Championships, Britain's Beth Tweddle has put to rest claims from critics who claim she will be "too old," to perform at the 2012 Olympics in London.
Granted, 25 is by no means "old age," but in the field of gymnastics it certainly isn't young either. In fact, Tweddle, who will be 27 by the 2010 Olympics comes around, is one of the oldest competitive gymnasts on the circuit.
But there's no denying that Ms. Tweddle is still landing the results. The 3 times World Gymnastics Champion, her most recent victory coming just last week in the uneven bars contest at the 2010 tournament in Rotterdam.
Beth Tweddle laid the claims to rest, commenting publicly that:
Three-time world gymnastics champion Beth Tweddle has brushed aside concerns that she may be too old to land gold at the London 2012 Olympics.
At 25, the Briton is already the second oldest competitor on the circuit and will be 27 by the time of the Games.
"In every interview people ask about my age saying 'are you going to be past it for 2012?' But I'm still enjoying it, I'm still getting the results and I'll be there and ready. Then I'll retire."
Well, there's no denying she is one of the best gymnasts that Britain has produced and we certainly hope to see her competing her way to success in London in 2012!
We wrote about Damien Walters and featured his 2010 street gymnastics show reel last week. Well, we've been fortunate enough to be able to get in touch with Damien by email this week and he gave us a quick e-interview about his career in gymnastics.
How old were you when you first ventured into Gymnastics? Tell us a bit about your progress within the sport?
I first got into Gymnastics at the age of 7 at Amber Valley Gymnastics club. At the age of 10 or 11, I started to realise i was more suited to tumbling so trained more in this and at the age of 12 i did my first little tumbling competition.I never really took it seriously until one day when i was around 17. I was taken down to see the national coach, Vadim Skakun. I think he must have seen a little talent in me as he told my coach at the time he should put me in the British Championships. I went into the comp.... and I did rubbish! But i decided from then that that is what i wanted to do and I would try my best to make sure I was never that bad again! From then, I started training more and more down at Lillishall until one day when i was 19 i was asked to live there. I competed in my first World Championship in 2001.
I did ok but nothing special so I went and trained again and came back in 2003 and came 5th overall and we won the World Championships as a team. As you can tell, I was pretty happy and from then on and I just had the confidence to keep going and going. I got to winning world cup and being ranked number 4 in the world at one point.
You are, without doubt, incredibly fit and unbelievably strong. Are there any lifestyle habits, aside from regular training, that you would say are essential to achieving and maintaining your level of fitness?
I would honestly say that fitness will come easily if you just find something you like doing. I mean, nobody likes doing things they don't want to do and if you see exercise as a chore then it's much harder work. Find a sport you love with a group of people you like being around and you will be fit in no time. I'm lucky as i do somethig I absolutely love with the people I love being around.
How did you become involved in free running?
I don't really see what I do as 'free running.' I just see it as acrobatics outside. My friends do free running and parkour but I just do little bits to fit in with the moves i want to learn. For me, it's just trying to invent new things and take on new challenges . Some people call it 'free running,' and that's fine - It doesn't matter how people refer to it.
Street Gynastics seems to have captured the imagination of a whole group of people who might not previously have considered themselves interested in "gymnastics." What are the similarities between the more traditional forms of gymnastics and what you do?
They are very similar. As I say, it more or less is just acrobatics outside, but it's generally seen as a bit of a 'cooler' thing to do so people love it lol!
Your first role as a stuntman was a pretty impressive one - in hit film Hellboy II. How did you get involved?
I became a stunt man by fluke really! I got a phone call from a guy called Brad Allen, who is Jackie Chan's lead stunt coordinator, and he said he needed a tumbler in a movie called 'Hell Boy II. I thought he was joking at first, but he convinced me he was serious. Within 2 weeks, I was out there filming. I honestly thought it would be the end of it when i finished but he rang me again and said he liked the way I worked am was interested in doing another movie with me, with even more stunts in. From there the stunt work just kept coming. I never really initially wanted to be a stuntman but since then I've done loads of different types of films.
You've been ranked 4th in the world for tumbling, won the Taurus World Stunt Awards, had TV stunt man roles in films such as Hellboy II, Scott Pilgrim vs the World and Kick-Ass, taken part in the Trampoline World Championships and enjoyed some Internet success with your 2009 showreel video becoming one of Youtube's most viewed. That's an impressive CV. But if you had to choose just one achievement to name as your best, what would it be?
If I had to choose one I would choose winning world champs in 2001 as a team and world cup 2004. They really were highlights for me and made me feel like everything I'd worked for was worth it :) That's not to say the others havent been great, of course, but the tumbling was the best for me.
I know we've already featured one Damien Walters video here... but his stuff is absolutely engrossing to watch, so we're going to include the 2009 one here!
You can find Damien's Youtube channel here.
‘Street Gymnastics,’ also known widely as ‘free running,’or ‘parkour,’ is an incredible variation on traditional types of gymnastics. It takes all the strength that gymnastics takes, all the discipline and all the creativity, but when someone gets its right, it is stunning to watch.
It’s a modern, edgy sport that has captured the interest of young and old alike and has even garnered interest from a whole fanbase who would never have previously considered themselves to be interested in “gymnastics.” Browsing Youtube is a great way to watch some of this and we’ve identified one Street Gymnast in particular who is incredibly talented.
Watch the work of Damian Walters on Youtube below.
We were utterly inspired to read about a project in Redditch, here in the UK, that is bringing the possibility of participating in gymnastics into reality for disabled children.
The project, organised by Redditch YMCA, is to be run in conjunction with Redditch Special Olympics.
The once weekly sessions will give the disabled youngsters, between the ages of five and thirteen years, the opportunity to obtain their BAGA Cadge awards and even potentially compete in special Olympics gymnatics tournaments around the UK.
We think this is an amazing opportunity for the youngsters to take part in a sport that's notonly socially satisfying and fun, but that enhances discipline and both mental and physical strength. What's more impressive is the fact that the sessions will cost only £1.50 per week, making this an affordable class as well.
For anyone in the Redditch area who is interested in the classes, the contact is Darren Veness, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The U.S women's gymnastics team were disappointed with their fourth place position at the Sydney Olympics in 2000. They felt very much as though they were capable of more - capable indeed of reaching the medal places. But it wasn't to be.
However, the team, who have since then grown up, obtained degrees, married and made all manner of other lifestyle changes, have just received bronze medals for their performance a decade ago.
No, they haven't started handing out consolation medals! However, in April of this year, it was deemed that they'd actually finished in third place back at the event some ten years ago. It wasn't a miscalculation that led to the oversight. Instead it was a decision many years after the event to disqualify third place team, China, when it emerged that they had used an underage participant.
Well, better late than never, you might argue!
This year's winners of reality show, 'Britain's Got Talent,' were 'Spelbound.' The group of high adenalin acrobatic gymnasts took the nation by storm with their spectacular (and somewhat risky) routines that seemingly tested the boundary of what was physically possible to achieve with the human body.
However, not satisfied with their winning cash prize and subsequent place in the next Royal Variety Performance, the troupe have set their sights on the Olympics. There's just one problem - their specific sport, Acrobatic Gymnastics, is not yet included in the Olympics.
While many varieties of gymnastics are of course on the bill, this particular type is not. This disappoints the troupe to say the least. But they're certainly not down and out about it. Instead, they have been campaigning for years for the sport to be included and it's hoped that their hard work will eventually pay off.
The difference between a sport being an Olympic sport and not? Well... a LOT of money. At present, Acrobatic Gymnasts will have to find a way to fund everything themselves - from their gym wear, to their fees, to their competition travel costs. Certain elite Olympic athletes qualifty for Government support.
But of course it isn't just a question of money.Spelbound simply want to compete on the greatest stage of all - the Olympics.
And why shouldn't they? Acrobatic Gymnastics is physically demanding, thoroughly entertaining and certainly deserving of a place in the Olympics.
Not convinced? Check out Spelbound's winning performance on this year's 'Britain's Got Talent.'
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We're now pleased to launch the blog, which will bring you news, reviews and profiles from the prolific world of gymnastics.
While we start gathering all the latest news and reviews, why not check out behind the scenes at last season's catalogue photo shoot?