HUNTSVILLE, Texas, May 18, 2013 – Under the direction of 1988 Olympic gold medalist and Development Team Coordinator Valeri Liukin led the Women's May Developmental Camp this past week at the USA Gymnastics National Training Center at the Karolyi Ranch, a U.S Olympic Training Site.
The camp included 40 gymnasts, many of who recently finished their Junior Olympic competitive season at the Level 9 Eastern/Western Championships and the Level 10 Junior Olympic National Championships. Athletes participated in two-a-day workouts with Liukin and other members of the National Staff.
On first day of training, an elite compulsory qualifier was held, where many of the athletes qualified for the upcoming National Qualifiers to be held at Parkettes in Allentown, Pa., and the Training Center in early July.
Many of the gymnasts are working to qualify for the HOPES Challenge at the Secret U.S. Classic in July, as well as several looking to compete as Junior International Elite at both the Classic and U.S. Gymnastics Championships. Their ultimate goal is to make the Junior National Team for 2013-2014.
The first evening of training begins with Physical Abilities testing. Simone Banen of North Stars Gymnastics, coached by Tony Gehman, garnered the highest points in the testing. In second place was Christina Desiderio of Parkettes, coached by Heather Moroz. Third place in physical abilities was Gabrielle Perea of Legacy Elite, coached by 1984 Olympic medalist Jiani Wu.
Coaches lectures were held after each training session taught by the USA Gymnastics Women's National Coaching staff including Liukin, Tammy Biggs, Antonia Markova, Luminita Garcy, Neil Resnick, Todd Gardiner, Ivan Ivanov and Dan Baker. 2005 World all-around champion and 2008 Olympic silver-medalist Chellsie Memmel, who is now an International Gymnastics Federation rated brevet judge, helped with verification of skills and combinations and routine review. Memmel met with coaches to review routines and make recommendations for routine construction, as these gymnasts and coaches prepare for elite competition.
At the conclusion of the camp, gymnasts received awards for placements in physical abilities and a gymnast is awarded Most Improved Gymnast. Two gymnasts were awarded this prestige honor: Maile O'Keefe from Salcianu Academy of Gymnastics, coached by Tammy and Sorin Salcianu, and Perea.
The next Women's Developmental Camp follows the National Team Camp in early June.