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!
Co-editor and 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 providing 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!
Co-editor, Competition coverage editor and 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
Sara Dorrien, Russian news, profiles and more…
I am an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA), currently serving as solo pastor to a congregation in Kalamazoo, Michigan. That means that when I am not scavenging You Tube for the latest competitions and marking the Code of Points with question marks, I am writing sermons, creating curriculum, and putting out small fires! (Note: To date, I have only used ONE gymnastics-related illustration in a sermon. It was the Rosa Galieva/Tatiana Gutsu fiasco at the ’92 Olympics. I figure I’m allowed one of those per year.)
My love affair with the sport began as a kid watching the 1996 Olympics. I was about as obsessed as one ten-year-old could be with The Magnificent Seven, their posters and magazine scraps literally covering my bedroom walls. Looking back, however, I always had an appreciation for the Russian gymnasts as well. Before being able to name it, I noticed something “different “ and compelling in their gymnastics and in their personalities.
The Russian team still intrigues me. Their style, their superior bar work, their incorporation of Russian music and dance into their floor routines, their emotional honesty, and their insistence on continuing to do gymnastics “their way” despite it moving in another direction all make for interesting stories. I hope I can capture and share some of that as I cover their current National Team and competition results.
In addition to pastoring and writing about gymnastics, I also enjoy running, writing about subjects related to social justice and faith, reading (world history, especially), and visiting any and all microbreweries with good company.
Kristin Bruno, regular contributor, TCG Junior Watch
I was born in Woodstock, NY but mostly grew up in Austin, Texas. I’m currently a freelance graphic designer, giving me the ability to travel and work. My love of travel and international culture was influenced at a young age as I had the rare privilege of seeing places outside of the States. My parents would save up and bring my sister and I to different places to learn more about the world. I currently live in the Netherlands, and love being close to the European gymnastics culture.
Although I ended up choosing to obtain my degree in design, journalism has always been a part of my life- as has gymnastics. Years back in high school I was editor-in-chief of our school paper and also went to state championships for spelling. I was also a gymnast and continued on and off recreationally through high school and college. I am currently taking adult gymnastics classes, and vow to continue to until it’s physically impossible!
Recently, I had the chance to attend the team final at the 2012 Olympics. This added to the already intense desire to become more involved in gymnastics in any way that I could. Writing for the international portion of The Couch Gymnast has brought a light into my life that has both highlighted and strengthened my love for the sport in a completely new and beautiful way.
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.
Mexican Writer and birthday profiles writer, Isabel Zamora
I’ve been a fan of artistic gymnastics since the 1996 Olympics; I was 10 and a half at the time. While I have never done actual gymnastics since then I’ve been very drawn to it. Perhaps because I like everything artistic, I love watching figure skating, diving, rhythmic gymnastics and ballet.
Following gymnastics in my country, Mexico, has not been easy. While in the late 90s we saw some gymnastics, the first part of the new millennium was very dry, after missing most of the 2004 Olympics I decided to not follow the sport anymore, fortunately that was only for three years until 2007 when I discovered youtube and how to do montages, which I love too. Fortunately nowadays we have tv coverage of worlds and some world cups.
I have a natural passion for writing and journalism, if I weren’t writing about gymnastics I’d be writing about something else for sure. I started contributing for TCG in September of 2011 to help promote my own country’s gymnastics, praise those truly artistic gymnastics, do some history pieces and the birthday profiles.
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
History Writer, Kristen Ras
I am from the suburbs of Chicago, where I was born and raised, save brief stays on the east coast and in Texas. After graduating with a BA in Religious Studies and Philosophy from Bradley University in Peoria, IL, I moved back to Chicago to start my dream job as a Religion teacher at the high school level, which I have been doing for a decade and am now department chairperson. I graduated with my Masters in Pastoral Studies from the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, and I am continuing my work and studies as a pastoral minister in the field of mental health issues. In my spare time, I love to volunteer, particularly with my church and the food pantry in my village. I also work part-time as a pet-sitter!
While I was primarily a soccer and volleyball player in my youth, my parents finally let me take gymnastics lessons after I was glued to my TV during the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. They enrolled me in recreational classes at the Illinois Gymnastics Institute. After a diagnosis of scoliosis and acceptance to a college prep high school, my days in the gym were over, but not my obsession! I still have my old VHS tapes from 1992 and on (and I still watch them!), and I remember fondly the first version of the “gymternet” on the AOL forums. I love revisiting the history of our great sport and finding those amazing routines, priceless moments, and gymnasts who shaped some part of our great sport. The gymnast who got me hooked in the sport was Kim Zmeskal, and my all-time favorite is Liliya Podkopayeva. I love avant-garde choreography, a pretty Delchev on UB a la Elena Piskoun, and innovative beam mounts.
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.”
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, Mila 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.
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.
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.