Monday, November 14, 2016

Eyes on the Future | Sloane Blakely

When Sloane Blakely stepped onto the podium for the first time in her elite career, she instantly proved that she had all the qualities needed to become a star. The perfect combination of flexibility and power, she performs each of her skills cleanly and with ease. Enrolled in dance since the age of 2, Sloane started gymnastics at the age of 5 after her mother began searching for extra activities to try outside of tap and ballet. Now at the age of 14, Sloane is competing at the elite level with the hopes of someday representing the USA internationally.


A typical day for Sloane begins very early and contains a balance between gymnastics and school. She is one of two elite gymnasts currently training at the Frisco location of WOGA under coaches Tatyana Shadenko and Ryan Roberts. Monday through Thursday she trains twice a day with her first practice running from 7:30am-12:00pm. Then she shifts her focus to school, where she is enrolled in a home school program. "It gives me the flexibility I need for gymnastics," she told us. After school it's back in the gym from 4:00pm-7:30pm. On Friday she has one practice in the morning from 7:30am-11:30am and then she has the rest of the day to relax and focus on school. On Saturday she trains from 8:00am-12:00pm and then she has Saturday night and Sunday to spend time with her family, go to church, and read--which is what she likes to do in her free time. Sloane has a younger sister named Skye who is also a gymnast and is currently training for her second year as a HOPES elite. "It's fun training with my sister," Sloane told us. "We encourage each other and we are able to communicate by simply giving each other certain looks."

2016 was a good year for Sloane. It was her first year competing as a level 10 and she didn't disappoint, winning the all-around and several event titles at almost every competition she competed in. She concluded her level 10 season on a big note by winning the beam title at the JO National Championships. Next it was onto the elite ranks after a stellar performance at the Elite Qualifier (the one that is held at the Ranch prior to the American Classic) where she finished 3rd all-around and 1st on vault and beam. At the Secret Classic and the P&G Championships, Sloane might not have won any medals, but she is proud of her performances, gained some valuable experience and certainly put her name on everyone's radar with good reason. A lot like her idol Simone Biles, Sloane is a great all-around gymnast but specializes on vault, beam and floor. On vault she performs a clean yurchenko full with great height and distance. At Classics and on the first day of P&G's, she absolutely nailed the landing. In fact, she was one of the few girls who scored a 9.0 in execution throughout both competitions. If she has a weaker event it would be bars, however she swings with ease and shows lots of potential for upgrades. On beam she is as light as a feather, shows great extension in her leaps, and performs a sky high double tuck dismount. On floor she does a breathtaking arabian double front and performs to the tune of "Remember the Name." Coincidence? I think not.



Sloane wrapped up her year with invites to a few of the National Team camps, which are now lead by WOGA's own Valeri Liukin. "I was able to learn new techniques, different approaches to my current skills and I picked up a few new skills too," Sloane said of her first camp experience. While the camps are all business during training, the girls do get to have some fun and wind down after practice. "During my second camp we dressed up for Halloween and hung out watching Laurie Hernandez on Dancing with the Stars," she said. "It was fun!"


For next season, Sloane has a lot of big skills in the works that she would like to add to her routines. She is training an amanar, a vault that very few gymnasts compete at the junior level. On bars she is working to add two release moves (piked tkatchev and gienger) along with a new dismount (double layout with a full twist.) On beam she is working on adding a new dismount, either an arabian double front or a full-in. On floor she is working a double double, double arabian piked, and a double layout. With those new skills, Sloane's goals for next season should be fairly easy to achieve. "I want to make it back to P&G's again, have cleaner routines and higher difficulty, and make National Team." Like most elite level gymnasts, she aspires to someday represent the USA at the highest level like the World Championships and "maybe even the Olympics." Only time will tell if she has what it takes, but right now the sky is the limit for Sloane Blakely.








Friday, November 4, 2016

Preseason chat with Florida's Head Coach Jenny Rowland

In her second year as the Head Coach of the Florida Gators, Jenny Rowland is looking to continue building her own legacy at Florida. While the Gators didn't defend their 3 year long winning streak at the NCAA Championships last season, they did sneak past Alabama to claim the SEC title and continued to prove all season long why they are one of the best NCAA teams in the nation. In this interview, Coach Rowland previews her team's goals and potential for the upcoming season.


The 2017 Florida Gators

When you accepted the Head Coach position at Florida, were you nervous to be taking on one of the best NCAA teams in the nation? 

I would be lying if I said I was not nervous. However, I took the approach that it was an amazing opportunity at a top academic school in a top conference for gymnastics-- the SEC. It certainly has been all I thought and more. It continues to be an amazing experience.

With Bridget Sloan now gone, who are you looking at to be the leader of your team? 
With Sloan gone, there are still many great leaders on this team. Claire Boyce, Kennedy Baker and Alex McMurtry have done a great job leading this team with their knowledge and experience. They are a great combination of both vocal leaders and leaders by example.

What are your expectations for your incoming freshman? What are some of the skills they are working on?
This is the most well rounded freshman class anyone could ask for. They have already proven their strong leadership skills both in and out of the gym, they've adjusted very well as far as balancing the life of a college student-athlete, and keeping workouts light, refreshing and very enjoyable. I expect that their hard work and dedication to this team will allow them to be very successful this upcoming season.

Sierra Alexander- Sierra is a very powerful gymnast and one of the hardest workers on our team. Her raw talent needs to be a little more refined but will definitely be a viable option on vault, floor and possibly beam.

Vault: Yurchenko full or yurchenko 1 1/2

Beam: Front tuck+back handspring

Floor: Double pike, front layout+front full

Maegan Chant- Maegan was recruited for her deceiving power. She will be competing for a lineup spot for sure on vault and floor. However, she is a beautiful gymnast and wouldn't be suprsied to see her in the all-around by the end of the season.

Vault: Tsuk layout full or 1 1/2

Floor: Double layout, front step out to double tuck

Rachel Gowey- Rachel no doubt will be a viable option for the Gators on all four events. Her power and grace is a great contribution to this team and I expect she will be making a huge impact this season.

Vault: Yurchenko double

Bars: Stalder hect, double layout

Beam: Back handspring+layout step out+layout step out, front aerial, back handspring+back handspring+double twist dismount

Floor: Full in, double pike

Amelia Hundley- Amelia's strength, dedication, commitment and consistency is a huge asset for the team on all four events.

Vault: Yurchenko 1 1/2

Bars: Shaposh 1/2, half in half out dismount

Beam: Back handspring+layout step out, front aerial, switch side

Floor: Double layout, double pike

How has preseason training been going so far? 
Training thus far has gone very well. I was pleased with the team when they returned from summer break. Everyone went home for the summer since we had no gym they could train in due to the new renovation of our competition/gymnastics facility. We just had our first instrasquad and I was happy with where we are at this time. We still have polishing to do, but nothing too major.

I feel this team is definitely one of the closest teams I have ever worked with. We have a diverse group as far as personalities and leadership skills. They have fully embraced each other and gelled very quickly compared to teams I have worked with in the past.

This year picked up a transfer from Eastern Michigan, Rachel Slocum, how do you hope she'll contribute to the team? 
Rachel's transfer was flawless. She is very outgoing and someone who has made an immediate impact on our team. Rachel's bubbly personality is contagious and she brings a light-hearted spirit for gymnastics to a new level. Her work ethic and power will make her a viable option to make lineups in both vault and floor.

What challenges, if any, do you think your team will face this season? 
I feel that the biggest challenge is always staying healthy.

What are your goals for the team this season? 
My goals for the team this season is to take ownership of their gymnastics and enjoy doing what they love to do. I feel that if these are embraced, then it will be a very fulfilling and successful season for the team.

A lot of fans were sad to hear that Peyton Ernst was released from the team this summer, can you give an explanation for why she was let go? 
Peyton was granted a medical scholarship, which would allow her to finish her degree at the University of Florida, but she would not be able to compete at UF. She asked for, and was given, a release to speak to other universities to see about any options in continuing her gymnastics career if she chooses to transfer.

Now that it's been a year since the yurchenko full was devalued, what are your thoughts on the change? 
I think is has been a good rule change. It allows the teams to be a little more strategic with their lineups.

When recruiting, what are some of the things you look for in potential future Gators?
Talent level, their love for the sport of gymnastics and they have to love UF.  We want those who desire success in both academics and athletics.


Friday, October 28, 2016

Preseason chat with Valorie Kondos Field

The UCLA Bruins could be back in contention for an NCAA title this year with arguably one of the best rosters currently in the NCAA. The freshman class alone includes two Olympic Champions, a former National Team member, and a set of twin sisters that were stars during their JO careers! The Bruins also look to welcome Macy Tronjo, a former elite and redshirt freshman, into the lineups this year. UCLA's roster also returns a lot of talent in Katelyn Ohashi, Angi Cipra, Peng Peng Lee and Hallie Mossett--just to name a few. In her 27th year as the Head Coach at UCLA, Valorie Kondos Field could have a team that brings home a national title for the first time since 2010. Will the Bruins have what it takes to reclaim their spot at the top of the podium? Valorie talks with us about her expectations for some of the freshman, her goals for the team, choreography and more! 


You have a very large but talented freshman class this year (9 incoming freshman to be exact.) On what events might we see some of these ladies breaking into the lineups? 
Hopefully, Kyla Ross and Felicia Hano will compete in the all-around. Madison Kocian on everything but vault. Grace Glenn is also a strong all-arounder, she should shine on floor, bars, and beam. Grace Kramer is an amazing vaulter and really powerful on floor,

How is Macy Toronjo doing? 
She's actually doing well and will hopefully be ready to compete in the all-around mid-season. She's been sidelined with a rare eye disease which has kept her from training for about a month now. She just started back last week. She's in great shape and should be able to get her skills back quickly.

Have all the floor routines for this season been choreographed? What routine are you most excited for fans to see? 
Oh my goodness no! In fact, I'm very behind. I've done 4 out of the 15. So far, Angi's acting ability is off the charts. Hallie is as stunning as ever and JaNay...boy that girl can dance. The pleasant surprise so far for me has been Kyla--she's a really good dancer. I think you're going to see a new Kyla on the floor this year performance-wise. I know she's going to be smiling a lot.

You've choreographed many brilliant floor routines in your career. Do you ever run out of ideas? Where do you find inspiration? 
Yes! I'm that person that inaccurately thinks I've used up all my creative ideas. So silly. I get inspiration from the music first and from watching a ton of videos. I was trying to add up how many routines I've choreographed since I started in 1977 choreographing for Jim Stephenson in Nor. Cal. I was 17 then and 57 now...interesting to think back to all the routines I've done.

A reader of our site wants to know if you feel intimidated coaching this years team? You do have arguably one of the best rosters this season!
"Intimidated?" That's a unique word to use. No. I feel honored and blessed. Not only are they talented but they're really amazing human beings. I'm having a ball, especially with Kyla. She and I are almost exact opposites with how our brains work. She is meticulous, organized, linear in her thinking and extremely disciplined once she sets her course. And I'm all over the map! The classic left brain vs. right brain scenario. We have fun trying to find the happy medium.

Jordyn Wieber will be serving as a volunteer assistant coach this year, can you talk a little about that? 
Well, we're excited to finally have her here next month once she finishes with the tour. She hasn't been allowed to coach the past 3 years. I anticipate she's going to be a phenomenal coach in that she's already got the respect of the team combined with her knowledge and clam but intense delivery...shes such a gift. I'm already getting sad thinking this is the last year we have her.

What are your goals for the team this season? 
Our goals are to reach the top of the Coach Wooden Pyramid - Competitive Greatness, being able to be your best is needed. I really feel we did this last year. Hopefully, we'll stay healthy and compete on that last night for another team title.

Elite gymnastics is so intense and serious, how do you help your former elite athlete transition to the college atmosphere? 
I explain that all athletics and all sports are entertainment. Without a strong base we cease to exist. We can't just focus on executing perfect skills, we have to embrace the "performance" aspect of our sport. I also illuminate for them that in elite they compete a handful of times a year. In college they compete 16 times in 4 months. It's a totally different mental game, one that elite gymnasts are ready and excited for by the time they come to college.

Now that it's been a year, what are your thoughts on the yurchenko full being devalued? Do you like the change?
I do like the change because we had to do something to make it not the compulsory event. I still don't think our rules are tweaked enough to encourage and reward originality and virtuosity. I'm an advocate to go to a 9.7 start value and re-introduce ROV (risk, originality, virtuosity) into our scoring system.



Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Preseason chat with Michigan Head Coach Bev Plocki

It won't be long until college gymnastics season is in full swing. January 7th marks the beginning of the season for the Michigan Wolverines, who will face some tough competition in front of thousands of fans at the University of Utah. However, things look bright for Michigan this season with plenty of returning talent from last season, a top-notch transfer from Arkansas, and a large incoming freshman class that could provide lots of depth in the lineups. Coach Bev Plocki enters her 28th season coaching the Wolverines and gave us a preview of her teams potential and as well as their goals for the 2017 season.



Can you give us a brief update on each member of the team and what your expectations are for them this season? 

Nicole Artz- Nicole is recovering from a minor surgery on her ankle, she should be fine for the season but has had limited training so far this fall. She is a competitor and has lofty goals for her senior year. I expect her to once again be a top all-arounder for us.

Talia Chiarelli- Talia has been looking awesome and is poised to have a great year. She looks as good or better than ever. Her 1 1/2 on vault, her beam, and floor will be outstanding.

Brianna Brown- I believe that Brianna is on a great track right now and getting healthier each day. I think this could be a fantastic year for her. Bars and beam are her highlight events but her floor routine is clean and strong and her vault is getting better each day.

Lauren Marinez- Lauren worked really hard over the summer on strengthening and she is in the best shape I've seen her in. Her beam and bars are rockin' and I look for her to break a floor lineup as well.

Paige Zaziski- Paige is a welcome addition to the team this year, she brings a wealth of competitive experience and can bring in big scores on all events. I'm looking forward to what this season will bring for her.

Olivia Karas- Liv also had a minor wrist surgery but is back on track and looking great already. She is a fantastic all-arounder for us and can put up big scores in all four events. She has no weak events.

Emma McLean- I am really looking forward to seeing Emma in a much bigger role this year. Her beam has improved a great deal and her floor and vault are doing great! Love her floor routine this year and her bars are clean and strong.

Lexi Funk- Lexi has been a little dynamo, she is consistent all the way around. She will provide a high level of depth that we need in all four events. I think we will see her in lineups on all four events during the year.

Maggie O'Hara- We have high expectations for Maggie. Her strongest events are bars and beam, but she has the ability to see herself in any of the four events if she works hard.

Maddy Osman- Maddy is another fireball of energy and performs with explosive power and strong skills in all four events.

Sam Roy- Sam is doing a great job and is improving each day. I'm not sure at this point what events she will make but she is close on at least three. She is a great example of what hard work and determination can do and is a great addition to our team.

Polina Shchennikova- Polina is almost back 100% from her shoulder surgery in May. She is strong and is feeling pretty good too. She is making tremendous strides every day and her progress back to peak shape is right on track. I expect her to make significant contributions this season and peak when we need her to.

A video posted by David Kuzara (@davkuz) on

Now that it's been a year since the yurchenko full was downgraded, what are your thoughts on that change? Do you think it's a hassle for some of the older girls to learn a new vault at that point in their career? 
I think that the 9.95 vaults have been a good first step to providing some benefit to the athletes who are capable of doing the bigger vaults. It wasn't fair that someone taking the risk to do a 1 1/2 or double would have the same start value as a full. If any coach feels that it is a "hassle" to teach our athletes new skills they probably should not be coaching. I would like to see the full go to a 9.9.

It's been awhile since Michigan has qualified to the Super Six, what do you feel needs to be done to get your team back in that position?
I am troubled by the fact that we have not been in the Super Six recently. I believe that we definitely deserved to be and have been good enough to be. Last year we absolutely had a weak beam rotation at the wrong time. We did it to ourselves, but my heart broke for the team. Sometimes it's the luck of the draw in which session you get placed in for NCAA's or what rotation you draw. We have outscored teams that qualified into the Super Six when we did not and that is a tough pill to swallow. Luck definitely hasn't been on our side lately but we need to be performing at a level that keeps us out of the "grey" area. I think that depth plays a big role in our ability to be at our peak going into post season. We are hoping to have a lot more depth this year and be able to rest some people during the season when needed.

What are your goals for this upcoming season? 
We want to look good early but we will take our time to make sure we are hitting our stride when it is critical. We have 50% of our team as freshman, so we will allow them to gain experience and confidence as we go through the season.

How has training been going so far?
Training has been going well. We have a great group of amazing young ladies, but like a lot of teams, we have a few coming back from injuries so we have people at different places on the readiness scale. My 28 years has taught me to relax and bring people along as is best for them individually. We will have everyone ready when it is go time! I'm confident in that.

A video posted by David Kuzara (@davkuz) on

What do you feel will be the teams biggest challenge this season?
We have a lot of youth, but in those athletes we have some good competitive experience so only time will tell. It is always an interesting puzzle that we get to put together each year.

Based off preseason so far, what do you think will be the teams strongest and weakest events?
I really believe we will have a pretty good balance on all four events. We may have a touch more depth on beam and bars but that also remains to be seen.

What are you going to miss the most about your seniors Talia and Nicole after this season?
Everything! They have been two of the hardest working and most consistent athletes I have had in a long time. Gosh, don't make me think about that already!

To stay up to date with the latest on your Michigan Wolverines, make sure you're following @UMichWGym on Twitter and Assistant Coach Dave Kuzara on Instagram (@davkuz) for training videos. 




Thursday, October 13, 2016

Book Review and Giveaway | You Will Know Me

You never truly know the people who are closest to you--even the people you thought you knew everything about. That's the eerie theme of Megan Abbott's latest novel and New York Times bestseller, "You Will Know Me."



Inspired by the parents of Aly Raisman, who's nervous, yet hilarious reactions from the stands as they watched their daughter competed at the Olympics went viral, Abbott was intrigued by the thought of parents who dedicate so much of their lives to their child when they are a prodigy.

"You Will Know Me" is the story of a fifteen year old elite level gymnast named Devon Knox who's parents are willing to do whatever it takes, emotionally and financially, to get her to the Olympics. When tragedy strikes-- a death in their tight-knit gymnastics community-- Devon's mom Katie. who narrates majority of the book, begins to take a deeper look at her family. Devon's younger brother, Drew begins having strange dreams about Devon and rumors begin to swirl, leaving Katie to question everything she thought she knew. Is what keeps the family together also what tears them apart?

The novel is a tense thriller that is more about the journey than the actual mystery. The reoccurring theme lies within the world of elite gymnastics and the parents who invest their heart and souls to see their child on top. However, that obsession can create a false sense of closeness, leading parents to think they know everything about them. Megan Abbott does a wonderful job of bringing to light the intersections of talented teenage girls, ambition, and obsession. This book is an interesting read for all young adults--but it doesn't hurt to be a gymnastics fan!


Giveaway
Want to win a copy of "You Will Know Me?" We will be giving away a copy to one of our followers! (US residents only.)

To enter, follow Megan Abbott on Twitter (@Megan Abbott) and then tweet us (@TripleTwistGym) letting us know you want to be entered in the giveaway.

A winner will be selected Monday, October 17th at 4pm ET.


Friday, September 23, 2016

NCAA Snapchat Masterlist

It's almost that time of year again...college gymnastics season! For most teams, official practice is underway and before us gym-nerds know it, our weekends will once again be spent watching college gymnastics all night long. However, to tide you over, you can now find many of the top gymnastics teams on Snapchat. Many teams will post updates on their "story" everyday-- giving fans a behind the scenes look at training, meets, or whatever else the team is up to. (If you don't know how Snapchat works, stories can be viewed as many times as you'd like for up to 24 hours--then it's deleted.) This is a great way to stay updated on your favorite teams, especially if you play fantasy gym!

We've compiled a list of college gymnastics teams that are active on Snapchat. If any team has an account that is missing from the list, please let us know so we can add it!

Image result for snapchat

Univeristy of Arkansas- razorbackgym

University of Arizona- azgymnastics

University of Alabama- bamagym

University of Florida- floridagators*

Iowa State- cyclonegym

LSU- lsugym

University of Michigan- umichathletics*

Michigan State- msu_gym

University of Nebraska- nebraskawgym

University of Oklahoma- ou_wgym

Oregon State- oregonstategym

Rutgers- rutgersgym

UCLA- uclagymnastics

University of Georgia- ugagymdogs

University of Utah- utahgymnastics

University of Washington- uw_gymnastics

*This is an account for the entire schools athletic program. During meets the gymnastics team typically takes over the account.


Friday, September 16, 2016

Martha Karolyi | The End Of An Era

At the age of 74, after nearly half a century of coaching the world's best gymnasts, the legendary Martha Karolyi has officially joined her husband, Bela in retirement. It's been a long run for the Romanian duo, who's coaching journey began in the 70's when a young girl named Nadia Comaneci was chosen to attend their new gymnastics school in Onesti, Romania after displaying a perfect cartwheel at school during recess. Under the guidance of Martha and Bela, Nadia became an icon for the sport of gymnastics. At the 1976 Olympic Games, Comaneci won five Olympic medals, three of which were gold, and was the first gymnast to score a perfect 10 in Olympic competition. The success of Nadia and the Romanian gymnastics program set the Karolyi's up with many opportunities once they defected to the United States in 1981, after all, everybody wanted to train with the coaches of Nadia Comaneci!

Barley a teenager, Mary Lou Retton convinced her parents to let her move away from home to train with the Karolyi's once they settled in Houston, Texas. At a time where the sport was dominated by the Soviet Union, Mary Lou changed the face of gymnastics in America. At the 1984 Olympic Games, Mary Lou needed to score a perfect 10 on her final event, the vault, to win the first ever Olympic all-around title for an American women. In front of a home crowd, she did exactly that. Mary Lou was America's sweetheart and from there, a new standard was set for gymnastics in the United States. Enrollment to the Karoyli's gym multiplied by hundreds within just a few days--everybody wanted to be like Mary Lou.

In 1991, the Karoyli's coached Kim Zmeskal to the United States first ever all-around World title, but after team USA won no gold medals at the Olympics the following year, Martha knew something needed to change. She recalled that in Romania, team unity was a major key to the team's success, after all, those gymnasts lived and trained together everyday. In the United States however, each gymnast had a personal coach and lived in different parts of the country. The only time the team would come together was when they were at the Olympics or a major international competition. There was never a bond or connection between the girls. In 1996, Martha was named the head coach of the Olympic team and ordered the team to train together as one in the weeks leading up to the games. Ultimately, Martha's philosophy of creating unity between the team had worked. The Magnificent 7, which included two gymnasts personally coached by the Karoyli's, won the team gold medal for the first time in the history of USA Gymnastics.

Following the 1996 Olympic Games, the Karoyli's stopped coaching individual athletes and created the system that is still used today for the US women. Every month, the best gymnasts in the country would come together to train at "The Ranch," a 2,000 acre ranch built by Bela himself. Following the 2000 Olympics, Bela retired, handing the national team program down to Martha. In the 16 years that Martha was the head of the women's gymnastics program, the story has only been of success and dominance on the US women's side. In 2003, the United States won their first gold medal as a team at the World Championships. The next year, Carly Patterson became the first Olympic all-around champion since Mary Lou Retton won it in 1984. In 2008, Nastia Liukin came from the same gym as Carly and also won the Olympic all-around title. By the 2012 Olympics, the United States was almost untouchable, winning the team competition for the first time since 1996 and with a margin of over five points. That team became known as the Fierce 5 which included Gabrielle Douglas, who continued the winning streak by becoming the first American women to win the all-around title and the team title in the same Olympics.

In Martha's final Olympic quadrennium, arguably the greatest gymnast of all time emerged-- ready to send Martha out on top. Simone Biles won nearly every competition she competed in from 2013 to 2016, and in just three years she gathered 14 World medals, 10 of which are gold. At the 2016 Olympics, Martha's 11th and final Olympics, Simone Biles along with her teammates, dominated the competition as expected. They dubbed themselves the Final Five, in honor of being Martha's final Olympic team.

From generation to generation, Martha Karolyi was the mastermind behind gymnastics history and Olympic success. From Nadia Comaneci to Simone Biles and all the legends in between, Martha's legacy will never be forgotten. While her days of coaching are now over, Martha and Bela have etched their names in the record books and will forever be pioneers for the sport.

Martha with her first (left) and final (top) Olympic teams.
(Bottom right) Martha posing with the Walk of Fame wall at the Ranch

We reached out to several gymnasts who trained with Martha Karoyli throughout the last 40 years. These are some of the memories they had to share.

Teodora Ungureanu | Romania
3-Time Olympic Medalist (1976)

"It was a great honor to have Martha as a coach. She taught me that hard work and discipline is the key to success. I was also happy to be apart of the USA National Team for four years [as the coach of World Champion Sabrina Vega] and show her that I can be a good coach too. I always admired her work ethic, she is the best coach in the world! I hope whoever comes after her will follow in her footsteps. It's going to be a challenge!" 

Phoebe Mills | USA
Olympic Bronze Medalist on beam (1988)


"I'm happy that I have many fond memories of Martha. I remember our practices that followed the Olympic rotation schedule: vault, bars, beam and floor. When it was time to go to beam, we were all relieved that it was finally a rotation with Martha. She was stern yet kind and always very supportive. She has done a lot for USA Gymnastics, and I can't thank her enough for helping me develop a medal winning balance beam routine."

Betty Okino | USA
Olympic Bronze Medalist with team (1992)

"One of my greatest memories was Martha [and Bela] calling me up into their training team. When I first moved to Karolyi's I was put into another elite group headed by another coach, Rick Newman and I was there for about 3 months until the US Classic meet, when I was given the chance to prove myself. After the competition, Martha put her arm around me and said, "well Betty, now are you ready to work?" To which I nodded up and down emphatically.  Through her eyes I saw my potential and I had such faith in her [and Bela's]  ability to coach me to the Olympic Games. As a coach, Martha was always very sharp and stern with moments of compassion. Her lighter, more endearing side came out when traveling abroad, Martha loves to shop!"

Chellsie Memmel | USA
World Champion (2005) & Olympic Silver Medalist  

"I have so many memories of Martha. but I will always remember the lineups before and after practice. They were such a constant and always started and finished our day at the gym. She was a great leader for the team."

Shawn Johnson | USA
World Champion (2007) & 4-Time Olympic Medalist (2008)


"I will never forget meeting Martha for the first time when I went to the Karolyi Ranch as a 12 year old attempting to qualify to the US Classic. I remember being in awe of her and wanting nothing more than to impress her! It wasn't until after the camp was over and we were done competing that I went up to thank her when she all of a sudden gave me the biggest hug and told me how impressed she was and how I would forever be her "little peanut." It was one of the best moments of my gymnastics career." 

Jazmyn Foberg | USA
Junior National Champion (2014) & National Team Member (2014-Present)

"My favorite memory with Martha was when she grabbed my face for the first time at the Secret Classic. It was my first time getting on podium and I couldn't be happier. This picture describes it all. This moment led to many more experiences and I'm so thankful for everything! #legend"