Archive for April, 2010

Bronze for the US Gymnasts

28 Apr shonakamori 2 Comments »

The current buzz in the gym world is that a Chinese Olympian at the 2000 Sydney Games was underage at the time she competed (the FIG states that says you have to be at least 16), and thus, the entire Chinese team that placed third is packing up their medals and shipping them to the US team that placed right behind.

Personally, I feel that the age limit should be taken away.  I think that if you’re good enough to compete at the highest level, you should be able to do so regardless of your age.  But rules are rules, and if it’s in print, you’ve gotta follow them.  It’s great that the US team is getting their medal but I feel for the team that should’ve competed at the Sydney Games but didn’t get the chance to.  After all, the girl that was caught as being underage also competed at the world championships the year before, which served as the qualifying competition for the Olympics.  Total bummer.

Camp Underway

23 Apr shonakamori 2 Comments »

Every time I come out to the OTC, it feels like coming home.  I guess I’ve only lived here for two years and spent my senior year at a local high school :)

The Olympic Rings!

Although I’m not fond of the cold weather, it’s always great coming out here because not only do I get to see some familiar faces, but I get to train with the guys on the national team.  It’s always quality training because it’s motivating to see how much everyone has improved and we feed off of the energy that’s in the gym. The last time I was out here was last year, which was right before Japan Cup.  There’s one more day of training and we’re all excited about finishing this strong!  Check out some random photos I took below:

The Athlete Center: This is where we check in whenever we come for camps. Most of the resident athletes live there and there's also a huge cafeteria inside.

The Cafeteria: The greatest thing is having food waiting for you right after training!

Yup, the OTC is right by the Rockies. If you look closely enough, there's vertical line on of the mountains. That's actually an old cog trail that broke down a while ago which people now use to climb for training. AKA The Incline, it's one mile of sheer uphill up the old railroad. We used to do it for x-training when I lived here.

Sherry, The OTC Mom. Awesome lady! Unfortunately, I don't know her official title, but I know she does a lot to make sure this place is running smoothly. We all know her as the "Mom" of the OTC though. If you need something or someone to talk to, you go to Sherry!

Quick Trips

19 Apr shonakamori No Comments »

Regional Championships was quite an experience.  With all the judging and coaching I did, it felt like a marathon, but all in all, I had a great time.  I didn’t get to hang out in the city of San Diego but catching up with the coaches and some of kids I’ve helped in the past is always fun.  As usual, at a meet that big, I got to see some exciting gymnastics.  I’ve gotta say that there were a  bunch of  junior gymnasts that looked promising.  It’ll be fun to see them improve more in the future.

As for judging, I sat behind the table for floor, pommel horse, and vault.  In particular, it was awesome that I got to sit and judge pommel horse beside a former world champ on the same event, Li Xiaoping (check out a vid of him below).  It was definitely a very humbling experience.

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That’s basically it for judging this year.  Now it’s time to put all of my focus on my own training.  It seems like the timing is perfect because I’m leaving to go train at a national team camp at the Olympic Training Center on Wednesday.  I’m only there until the weekend but there will be quality training and it’ll be great to see all the guys on the team.  There’s been a bunch of quick trips lately! Anyway, check back in for more updates from Colorado Springs!

Reporting From San Diego

15 Apr shonakamori 1 Comment »

Just landed and checked in after a short 1-hour flight from NorCal.  As I said in my earlier blog post, it’s crazy to think that the last time I was here was for the same meet, but 15 years ago!  I’ll be up bright and early to judge the first session.  This time around they have me assigned on floor throughout most of the weekend.  I’m actually excited about this because I get to judge with a former Stanford gymnast, Craig Nesbitt.  I’ve known him ever since I was little that I basically consider him to be my brother.  It’s also kind of cool because he was the one that initially got me into judging!

Speaking of Stanford, the Stanford team will be competing tomorrow in the first session of NCAAs.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with NCAAs, there are two sessions, each with six teams (total of 12 teams).  The top three teams from each session will advance to Friday night’s team final to battle it out for the national title.  Everyone send good thoughts to your favorite team at West Point (preferably to Stanford)!

Regionals/Gym Update

12 Apr shonakamori No Comments »

This’ll be another busy week for me.  Everything will be pretty much the same until Wednesday, but on Wednesday night I’ll be leaving to go down to San Diego.  I’ll be there to judge and coach the boys at the Regional Championships.  It’ll be four full days of  gymnastics but it’ll be exciting nonetheless.  Now that I think about it, I haven’t been down in San Diego since I competed in my first regionals when I was 8 years old!  That’s a pretty long time considering I’m out of college and all.  Looking back, I remember being super nervous and having a terrible meet.  I think I put too much pressure on myself because my dad told me that he would buy me a video game if I won first place.  Anyway, It’s funny to think that I’m going back there for the same competition, but this time as a judge and a coach.

2010 Region 1 Championships Logo

As far as things in the gym, they’re definitely coming along.  After getting the green light from the doctor last week, I’ve been gradually trying new things with my legs during practice.  The other day I did a double-back off of the pbars.  I won’t lie about it feeling a bit weird considering I haven’t done a dismount in over 8 months, but there wasn’t any pain.  I’m hoping that my knee will start to feel more comfortable as time goes by.

Also as soon as I get my custom brace delievered, I should be able to start doing a little more.  The other day,  I went back to the hospital to get sized up for it.  Overall, it was an interesting experience.  The specialist basically created a cast around my leg to make a mold of it. Then that mold is going to get sent to the headquarters so that they can make a custom brace for me.  Pretty neat!


07 Apr shonakamori 4 Comments »

When I went into the hospital today, the doctor finally gave me the magical words I was looking for, “you’re cleared.” Finally! After 8 months and 1 week of intense rehabbing on my ACL, I’m cleared to return to my sport without any restrictions! Obviously I’m not completely out of the woods just yet and I’ll continue with my rehab, but hearing those words was such a relief.

Looking back, I think that the most difficult period was not being able to walk and always having to use my crutches to get around. Going up and down steps was definitely scary, as was going to the bathroom. That was also the period when all I could do in rehab were quad tighteners and straight leg raises but it’s crazy to think how far I’ve come. Now I’m jumping off of things, doing single leg exercises, and running. I definitely need to thank a bunch of people, especially the PTs that worked with me while I was in Japan and my PT here in the US, Melissa. Thanks also to all the people that gave me a ton of encouragement during this process. This is definitely only the beginning but I feel like I’ve jumped over at least one hurdle (literally)!

Speaking Of…

06 Apr shonakamori No Comments »

Speaking of NCAAs, I was doing some searches on YouTube and came across some cool videos of past NCAAs when Stanford won the team title.  Having grown up in the Stanford gym, it’s exciting to see all the people I looked up to when I was younger.

Some of them include Jair Lynch (1996 Olympics silver medalist), Keith Wiley (my “adopted” brother…but more importantly US vault champion), among many others.  I definitely laughed out loud when I saw the former head coach, Sadao Hamada, sporting his mustache.  He’s known me so long that he considers me to be his son that he never had!

Yup, you know it…I’ve had ties with this school for a long time.

Check out Stanford winning the 1992 and 1995 titles below:

YouTube Preview Image YouTube Preview Image

And just for the heck of it, here’s a video of us from last year when we just found out that we won!

Most of our joy came from knowing that we made all of the Stanford gymnasts that came before us proud! Good luck to the 2010 team next weekend at West Point!

NCAAs – 2010

05 Apr shonakamori No Comments »

I was doing some thinking earlier and realized that this year’s NCAAs is only a week away!  Even though I won’t be competing (because I’ve officially completed my eligibility), I’m looking forward to it nonetheless.  Looking back, last year’s NCAAs was the most exciting meet that I’ve competed in my career thus far. The meet even tops all of the big international competitions I’ve been to. There’s something about the arena and how intense it gets with five other top-collegiate teams going head-to-head, not to mention the ecstatic fans and all of your teammates mixed in there as well. The meet definitely gets rowdy!

Stanford - NCAA 2009

It’ll be another close-battle  but I’m hoping to see Stanford defend their national title and become back-to-back champions. For more info on this year’s NCAAs, check here.

The team had a bit of a rough tough time at the conference championships, but it’s necessary to experience that kind of meet every once in a while.  It definitely gives you that extra fire to make sure you’re 100% prepared for the next one. Looking forward to seeing all the team’s A-games!

For a few pics from last year’s NCAAs, click here.

Sleep and Recovery Weekend

04 Apr shonakamori No Comments »

It was the first weekend since I got back from Japan that I had a whole weekend off to myself.  All the other weekends, I’ve been judging at various meets in the area.

As much as I like to be in the gym, I realized how much my mind and body needed a rest from gymnastics.  As some people say, recovery is just as important as training!

The hardest part about my recent schedule has been the fact that I haven’t been able to sleep in.  During the week, I’m up early to go to work or to rehab, and n the weekends, judging.  It’s no wonder why I had so much sleep debt and I took a total of three naps in one day!

Just goes to show how much I needed this weekend to catch up on sleep and recovery.  Now that I’m rested up, I should be good to go for the week.  After all, there’s one thing I’m excited about for next week.  I’m supposed to have my last check-up with the doctor for the knee!  My knee has been feeling a lot stronger lately so hopefully he’ll give me the final word to completely clear me!

Catchin’ Up!

01 Apr shonakamori No Comments »

Wow, I think that’s the longest I’ve gone without writing an entry!  I won’t lie, it’s been pretty hectic out here.  Last week seemed super short because I headed up to Oroville on Friday to judge the State Championships.  As the head pommel horse judge for Northern California, I also took part in a clinic for the all-star team members who are getting ready for regionals.  I’ll be going there also in a couple of weeks.

Aside from that, I’ve been focusing a lot on my rehab as I’ll be meeting up with the doc for a follow-up.  It’s been 8 months post-op and I’m anxious to get full clearance.

The comeback process in the gym seems to be coming along.  There’s still some variation in good days and not-so-good days but that always seems to be the case when I’m returning to competitive shape.  The important thing is to keep my head down and plug away.  I need to remember to listen to my body though because I do have the tendency to push myself too hard.

Lots to do but I’m glad that I have the next couple of weekends off from judging.  It’s been non-stop since I came back from Japan at the end of January.  It’s time to catch up on things that I’ve been pushing aside!