Anatoly Zhidkov, to whom he returned at the end of his career.
In between, he was coached by Igor Verniy (1984-91) and
Nikolai Andrianov (1991-93). (Both Zhidkov and Andrianov
passed away earlier this year.)
“All of the coaches were great, and without them I would not
accomplish all I did,” Marinitch says. “I acquired a lot of knowl-
edge from them, so now I’m trying to implement it with these
guys [at the OTC].”
• • •
During IG’s visit in July, Marinitch had five gymnasts on his
team. Orlando Metro juniors Sean Melton and Jake Martin
moved to the OTC after the Visa Championships in August.
(Their coach, Casimiro Suarez, accepted an assistant coaching
job at Ohio State.) The OTC program can accommodate up to
10 gymnasts, but there are requirements once they arrive.
“While the resident program does not really have a minimum
age (requirement), we are very careful about younger athletes
and making sure that they are mentally prepared for a full-time,
high-intensity resident program,” McIntyre says. “With that
being said, there have been some very notable and successful
athletes who were high school age when they started in the pro-
Once gymnasts get to the OTC, certain criteria must be met.
“For everybody it’s a little bit different,”
Marinitch says. “But the main focus here is at
least you have to make national team or main-
tain national team status. And we’ve had cir-
cumstances in the past when we told a guy [that]
if you don’t make senior team this time, you’re
going to have to go home, because we’re trying
to keep the bar high. Once you’re here, we
expect you to improve, and I’m expected to
coach that level as well.”
Three-time U.S. junior champion John Orozco, who tore an
Achilles’ tendon at the 2010 Visa Championships, moved to the
OTC last December. His rapid progress under Marinitch placed
him third at the ’ 11 Visa Championships and on the world
championships team. Orozco plans to remain in Colorado
Springs through the London Olympics, and then begin college.
“He’s a very insightful coach. He’s very nice,” Orozco, 18, says
of Marinitch. “He has a very good ability to strategically plan
things, which is a good feature in a coach. So I think that is his
best quality. It’s definitely an honor to be his athlete.”
Former Michigan gymnast Andrew Elkind, 25, is the senior
member of the group. He started training at the OTC during the
last quadrennium, when David Durante and Yewki Tomita were
OPPOSITE: The entrance
to the gymnastics facility, and the walkway
north toward the residence halls (inset).
BELOW: Marinitch gives
coaching advice to John
Orozco about the layout
Kovacs he is training.
BOTTOM: The larger of
the two gyms devoted to
“He’s a very insightful coach. He has a very good ability to strategically plan things … so I think that is his best quality. It’s definitely an honor to be his athlete.”