Chief Editor: Brigid McCarthy
The original Couch Gymnast, I am currently completing my PhD at La Trobe University in Australia. I am undertaking research into new media and online sports journalism, but my real interests are about audience interactions with popular culture and popular cultural texts themselves.
I lecture at three universities in journalism and media subjects like Understanding Sports Media, Writing for Media, Constructing Communication and Audiences and Communication.
I published a series of papers in academic journals on blogging, sports, new media and journalism.
I love writing about gymnastics and have contributed to International Gymnast Magazine and Inside Sport Australia.
I love blogging because of the fresh voices it brings to the sometimes tired tradition of sports journalism, as well as for its potential for collaboration, innovation and for the increasing range of voices offering insights into a our favourite sports. As far as I’m concerned, there will never be enough people talking about gymnastics.
Although I did gymnastics in high school (there were no real options to do the sport outside of school), I am a self-confessed Gymnastics Couch Potato who learned everything she knows (very little!) about the Code of Points from You Tube and who loves gymnastic with a passion most of her fellow countrymen reserve for Australian Rules Football!
On the apparatus I love interesting beam skills, innovative floor choreography, gymnasts who can dance, connected high bar releases, sky-high vaults and beautiful pirouettes on the uneven bars.
Off the apparatus, I love good sportsmanship, big personalities, when underdogs win, learning about gymnastics in strange places and talking to coaches about their athletes and their philosophies.
My favorite past gymnasts were Dina Kochetkova, Henrietta Onodi, Tatiana Lyssenko and Svetlana Khorkina.
Away from gymnastics I love traveling, taking photos of people (and of gymnastics), gardening, cooking and being made to laugh!
US Content Editor: Lauren Hopkins
I moved to New York City after high school to be a musical theater performer and after several years in that world I decided to attend college. I enrolled at Columbia University – a great school and I didn’t even have to leave my city! – where I am currently a junior studying History and International Relations with the goal of attending law school after graduation. I work part time at a great physical therapy office in Soho and volunteer for HousingWorks, a used bookstore whose proceeds go towards fighting AIDS. Occasionally I take adult rec gym at Chelsea Piers, but I’m mostly into swimming, archery, and kayaking. I also travel as much as possible, read every book I can get my hands on, and enjoy learning and speaking new languages (I speak German pretty well, have a basic knowledge of French, and am learning Polish and Russian).
I did recreational gymnastics as a kid, but didn’t fall in love with the sport until the 1996 Olympics. I remember devouring the Sports Illustrated for Kids coverage and watching my VHS tapes of the competition repeatedly, so it has especially meant a lot to me to find myself often in the same room as so many gymnastics legends while covering competitions. At this year’s American Cup, I sat next to Mary Lou Retton during a press conference with Steve Penny, Bela Karolyi, and Peter Vidmar. While grown-up me keeps it cool and professional, the eight-year-old inside me actually may have had a stroke from all of the excitement.
As the U.S. Editor for the Couch Gymnast, my goal is to continue provinding readers with up-to-the-minute updates and to make you as involved in my coverage as I possibly can throughout the U.S. Secret Classic, the Visa National Championships, the U.S. Olympic Trials, the Olympic Games, and beyond. I can’t wait to continue bringing coverage of USA Gymnastics to you!
Romanian writer, Beatrice Gheorghisor
I was born in Slatina, Romania, in 1984, I have a major in Geography and a minor in English Language and Literature. Besides gymnastics, my other passions are: 20th century American Literature, the Danube Delta and cooking.
My father was a boxing National Champion and then worked for several years for a local sports organisation, so since I was very young I was dragged to all sorts of competitions, meeting coaches, judges, officials and athletes. As I grew up, I was stealing my Uncle’s sports newspapers looking for the editorials (that I loved to read regardless of the topic) and articles on my favorites: gymnastics, figure skating, athletics, tennis etc. At one point I managed to gather an impressive collection of gymnastics articles, the highlight of which were the 14 Prosports published during the 2000 Olympics. Unfortunately, as I started to move from place to place, everything was lost but I remained with a great passion for sports journalism and with the memory of the opinion pieces written by Catalin Tolantan and other great Romanian journalists.
My blog has a main purpose making the news about Romanian gymnastics accessible to a broader audience; this is the reaosn I write in English. otherwise I’d just use Romanian because I am a pretty decent writer in my mother tongue
Italian writer, Giulia Holzer
Giulia was born in Vincenza, Italy and is in her last year of high school where she studies mostly psychology. She loves almost all sports, in particular of course, gymnastics, ice skating, volleyball, athletics, swimming, diving and fencing. She started gymnastics when she was five because she was too skinny. She was quite good, but was always scared of doing a back release on beam. In 2007 she became regional champion on vault but during a worout,nearly broke her ankle. Now she practices for fun and sometimes helps coaching kids. She says;
I write about gymnastics because my friends don’t know anything about this sport and when I start talking of gymnastics they are always bored ’cause they don’t understand a single word. I write about Italian gymnastics because in the gymnastics world no one cares about a non-gymnastics country like Italy but I think Italian gymnast deserve to be known.
Argentinian writer, Ana Cossani
I was born in 1983 and was born again when I first saw every minute of Atlanta’s Olympics on tv. Sionce then I’ve loved gymnastics and it’s been a part of my daily life. I am a journalist frokm Argentina. I love writing and have found an interesting world on the internet with all its possibilities. I also love Romanian gymnastics and searching for information I’ve found on The Couch Gymnast, a lovely blog where I found gymnastics, entertainment and fun!
My dreams? To help Argentinian gymnastics to be on the scene again, and trying to contribute with my website.
Ana’s blog: juguemosgimnasia.com.ar
Brazilian writer, Mariana Cunhas
A 23yo Brazilian journalist who at the age of 6 started begging my mother to join gymnastics. When she finally gave in, almost a year later, I was taken to my first class at a military club from my city. I kept going till college, when I had no more time in my schedule for the long practices. I guess the highlights of my gymnastics life were a couple of state titles. After college I went to spend some time I the US were I could watch closely the big difference between the gymnastics program back in my own country and the big American gyms, where I had the big pleasure to train for a few months till I had to go back. Now I work at the fashion industry but still go to the gym about three times a week just to keep in shape and stop everything to have a good look a gymnastics competition.”
TCG Columnist, Diana Gallagher
Diana writes and teaches writing in New York. She competed as a Level 9 gymnast and spent much of her collegiate career riding the stationary bike. She balances a life of coaching her sassy gymnasts with training for a marathon (or a half-marathon…or a 10K). To learn more, visit her blog: http://dianagallagher.blogspot.com
Brazilian/South American Writer, Bernardo Abdo
I’m a Brazilian fan of the world Women’s Artistic Gymnastics in all its categories. I focus on the basic divisions of the sport (such as Junior and Espoir), and follow fairly closely. I fell in love with this sport at five years old when, in 1999, I met Daniele Hypolito and Daiane dosSantos, who represented my country in the Pan American Games in Winnipeg, Canada. In 2007, I created a blog that became well known in Brazil, but that was finished in 2009.
As a reader and follower of “The Couch Gymnast” since its beginning, I had the great joy of being able to contribute with information and articles this year and I am very grateful for this unique opportunity.
History/European Gymnastics writer, Chris
I became fascinated by gymnastics, when watching the 1984 Olympic Games. For almost 15 years I did gymnastics myself and also worked for some time as a coach, teaching basic skills to talented beginners. I particularly like the “artistic” part of gymnastics: elegance, grace, originality and great choreography. Therefore I especially admire the performances of the Soviet gymnasts in the 1980s and early 1990s. As to today’s gymnastics scene, I am a fan of those gymnasts that uphold or bring back the artistic qualities of gymnastics, such as Daria Joura or Anastasia Grishina.
German gymnastics writer, Romila Storjohann
I’m a gymnastics fan from Germany but momentarily I’m studying in Switzerland. I did recreational gymnastics when I was younger – by now I like to watch and write about artistic, acrobatic and rhythmic gymnastics. My favorite athletes (in case you’re interested) are Julie van Gelder & Menno Vanderghote (acrobatic, recently retired), Evgenia Kanaeva and Irina Risenzon (rhythmic) and Fabian Hambüchen. It’s hard to choose a female artistic gymnast… I love Viktoria Komova (her combination of difficulty and a perfect execution is incredible), Daria Joura, Elisabeth Seitz…
My gymnastics blog: http://gymnicetic.wordpress.com
Great Britain writer, Craig Tilley
I was born on the south coast of England in a city called Portsmouth in 1995, the home of the Royal Navy. My dad was a marine engineer when I was a toddler, so my siblings and I grew up surrounded by these high tech war machines. I got involved in all sorts of sports growing up such as Swimming, Diving, Basketball, Tennis and Canoeing but I chose Gymnastics to be in my life. My goal as a British writer is to allow TCG readers to follow British gymnastics as they make an attempt to take the world by storm in the next years to come.
Writer, Cecile H
“I started watching gymnastics in 2007 when I was in Shanghai, China, watching the Shanghai World Cup with Jiang Yuyuan. I was never a gymnast or a dancer at that time (I am today), gymnastics just happened to be the only on TV that wasn’t boring. Than I forgot about it, until I was bored and the 2008 Olympics were coming, so I decided to start watching gymanstics again. I knew only the big names of the sport and only gymnasts of that quad: Shawn, Nastia, Cheng Fei, Steliana Nistor… and even than I couldn’t name you a whole team. Between 2008 and 2009, I was already addicted.
I can’t even count with my fingers and toes the number of times that I’ve watched the 2008 Olympics, including the qualifications, when they were on Youtube. I started watching all sorts of competitions from different times, from the National championships to World championships.
We say that NBC commentators don’t tell us a lot of things, but it was with them that I’ve learned all the names of the skills and everything. When I started watching gymnastics, I actually didn’t know Nadia and the perfect 10, so for me, a 15.500 was normal and I understood that score… but now I know why everyone is confused because of the new Code of Points.
In November 2011, I found a blog that seemed interesting… The Couch Gymnast. I read all the articles in about a month (there are soooo many!!) and decided to contribute to it. I usually cover China, Canada and France, because I live in Canada, but I’m from China and French is my first language! I also can name just about any gymnastic skill, so I help with the “Get to know the skills” series.
Top 3 Favorite acrobatic skill: Barani (Front flip with a half turn) on beam, full twisting tuck back on beam and double twisting double layout dismount on bars
Top 3 Favorite dance skill: Triple turn in a tuck position, illusion turn and sheep jump on beam
Top 3 Favorite all around of all-time: Shawn Johnson, Nadia Comaneci, Lilia Podkopayeva
Top 3 Favorite vaulter: Cheng Fei, McKayla Maroney and Alicia Sacramone
Top 3 Favorite bar worker: He Kexin, Beth Tweddle, Courtney Kupets
Top 3 Favorite beam worker: Shawn Johnson, Shannon Miller, Sui Lu
Top 3 Favorite floor worker: Sui Lu, Shawn Johnson, Ali Raisman”
Opinion writer, Justin Caouette
I am a graduate student in Developmental Neuroscience at the University of California, Davis. I study how adolescents function when they are being evaluated, so I might have a tad bit to say about all the head-case drama that goes on in gymnastics! I describe myself as a “slightly-more-than-casual” fan of the sport and enjoy writing from the point of view of a spectator. I discovered my love for gymnastics during the 1996 Olympic season. Amy Chow smacked her head on the balance beam during Olympic trials, got up, finished her routine, flashed a brilliant smile, and made the squad. For whatever reason, that did the trick: I was hooked. I am probably a little too fond of the flair, the glamour, and the narratives – but then, so are football fans. Random opinions: my favorite skill ever is the sit-spin on beam (a la Terin Humphrey in ’04), my favorite gymnast ever is Elena Produnova, and I think men’s gymnastics should require dance elements.