Plus, Team GB names its Euros team, Dalaloyan on staying realistic and a look back at Russia from Atlanta 1996
In just two years as the University of Arkansas women’s gymnastics head coach, Jordyn Wieber, a 2012 Olympic gymnastics team gold medallist, has taken the Razorbacks from being ranked 20th in 2019 to 10th heading into Friday’s NCAA Regional Championships.
She says she's helped produce that turnaround with a philosophy that focuses on empowering the athletes she coaches.
"The easiest thing for coaches to do is to make their athletes robots and say, 'Do this,' and then make them do it,” Wieber explained in an interview with ESPN. “To find a way to encourage and motivate change versus dictating change is harder, but I truly believe you'll end up with better outcomes and your athletes will become stronger, more resilient human beings."
They’ll face tough competition to advance to the NCAA Championships at the Alabama regional, where they’ll need to top either no. 1-ranked Oklahoma or no. 7 Alabama.
Speaking of which… Gymnastics fans in the United States are getting ready for about 24 hours of gymnastics coverage this weekend on ESPN3, as the NCAA women’s regional championships get underway. Competition begins at 1 pm ET Friday with the Morgantown and Athens regionals.
Each of Friday’s eight sessions contains four teams, with the top two in each advancing to Saturday. The same format applies Saturday, with the top two teams from each regional advancing to the NCAA Championships, scheduled for April 16 and 17 in Ft. Worth, Texas.
One team missing from the action Friday will be Auburn University, which announced Wednesday it would miss the Regionals due to COVID-19 protocols. The Tigers were ranked no. 15 in the country.
More teams continue to confirm their rosters for the upcoming European Championships (Basel, Switzerland, 21-25 April), including Great Britain.
Team GB announced their squad Thursday with 2019 European balance beam champion Alice Kinsella, 2019 junior world vault silver medallist Jennifer Gadirova, 2018 Youth Olympic Games medallist Amelie Morgan and Jessica Gadirova set to compete in the women’s competition.
For the men, 2016 Olympic champion Max Whitlock will be joined by reigning World parallel bars champion Joe Fraser, 2014 Youth Olympic Games champion Giarnni Regini-Moran, Courtney Tulloch, Jake Jarman and Joshua Nathan.
2018 World all-around champion Artur Dalaloyan of Russia knows what he needs to do to stay at his world class level.
“What I want to say is, it’s important to stay realistic,” Dalaloyan said in an interview with Russian Esquire, translated by Gymnovosti. “If you once had luck and everything worked out, it doesn’t mean it will stay like this forever.”
The gymnastics superstar, who recently finished second at the Russian Championships, talks on a wide range of issues in the interview, including retirement and how he manages his health.
“If you pay attention to all these little things – nutrition, proper sleep, healthy way of life, you stick to the routine, then you don’t harm your body,” said Dalaloyan. “You work, you give it your all, you try hard, and you grow.”
This week, we take a look back at the Russian team on floor exercise during the optionals at Atlanta 1996. The Russians took the silver medal behind Team USA, who won their first women’s Olympic team gold. In this rotation, Elena Grosheva posted the highest score for the team, a 9.775.