Olympians (from left) Michelle Kwan (
figure skating), Jennie Finch (softball) and
Nadia Comaneci (gymnastics) were presented “Power of I” awards at the International Olympic Committee’s World
Conference on Women and Sport. The
fifth annual event was held Feb. 1 7 in Los
ALTHOUGH Austrian Barbara Gasser earned moderate success as a teen, she has reached the most satisfying crossroads of her career at age 22. Gasser, who
earned a berth to the 2012 Olympics at the
Olympic test event in January, says age and persistence have produced her new level of confidence and consistency that timed perfectly with
the stressful Olympic qualification process.
“For me the biggest improvement was
the change in my mind-set,” says Gasser,
a native of Lustenau who has been living
with her family in Canada since 2003. “I
knew exactly what I wanted and worked
hard towards it. My parents have taught
me well to believe in myself and reach for
Gasser’s mature perspective has also
kept her on course for London, despite
the recent ascent of Austria’s younger tal-
ents such as reigning national champion
Elisa Hämmerle, 16, who outscored
her at last spring’s Europeans in Berlin.
“Of course there is always pressure, but I
had to deal with pressure my whole life,”
says Gasser, who trains under coaches
Dave and Liz Brubaker at Bluewater
Gymnastics in Sarnia, Ont. “In fact, it
gave me the extra motivation I needed to
continue to work hard, and to prove to
myself that being in my 20s is a good
thing—becoming more stable, experi-
enced and confident.”
Gasser and male teammate Fabian
Leimlehner will represent Austria in
Jr. Women’s AA: 1. Shallon Olsen55.95;2. Victoria-Kayen Woo 53.90; 3. Maegan Chant 52.35.
Sr. Men’s AA: 1. Robert Watson 84.10; 2. Anderson
Loran 83.85; 3. Hugh Smith 83.15; 4. Tariq Dowers
82.45; 5. Simon Porter 79.30; 6. Jason Scott 78.25.
(Event winners were Scott Morgan on floor; Loran on
pommel horse and high bar; Porter on rings; Smith
on vault; and Gafuik on parallel bars.)
Jr. Men’s AA: 1. Zachary Clay 79.79; 2. Joshua Stuart
77.43; 3. Damien Cachia 75.23.
PINCHES, THOMAS ENGLAND’S BEST
Veterans Jennifer Pinches and Kristian
Thomas captured the senior titles at the English
championships, held March 2-4 in Kent.
Pinches, who will turn 18 on May 25, was a
member of the seventh-place British team at the
2010 worlds, where she placed 32nd in qualifications, and the fifth-place British team at the
’ 11 worlds, where she placed 37th in qualifications. Pinches placed 21st at the ’ 11 Europeans.
British team stars Beth Tweddle, Hannah
Whelan, Becky Downie and Louis Smith
competed on two or one apparatuses each.
Tweddle’s 15.95 on bars was the high score of
the women’s meet, and Smith scored an event-high 15. 40 on pommel horse.
Olympic competition for the first time since the
1964 Tokyo Games, where Henriette Parzer
finished 61st. The Austrian men’s last Olympic
start was 1960, when they placed 16th as a
team. Prior to London, 41 Austrian gymnasts
( 17 women and 14 men) have competed in artistic gymnastics at the Games. Austria’s only
Olympic champion, Julius Lenhart, won two
golds and a silver at the 1904 St. Louis Games.
For her part, Gasser is deflecting the expecta-
“For me the biggestimprovement was thechange in my mind-set.”
All Around the World
Sr. Women’s AA: 1. Jennifer Pinches 55.15; 2. Danu-sia Francis 54.65; 3. Niamh Rippin 53.60.
Jr. Women’s AA: 1. Gabby Jupp 52.70; 2. Charlie Fellows 50. 15; 3. Katy Bramley 49.70.
Sr. Men’s AA: 1. Kristian Thomas 90.901; 2. Max
Whitlock 87.727; 3. Reiss Beckford 85.033.
Sr. Men’s “A” AA: 1. Frank Baines 84.266; 2. Courtney Tulloch 84.20; 3. Nile Wilson 83.00.
Jr. Men’s AA: 1. Brinn Bevan 81.733; 2. Joe Fraser
79.50; 3. Harry Caulwell 77.733.
Paul Hamm/USA: Hamm, the 2004
Olympic champion, pleaded no contest to an
assault charge from September in Upper Arlington, Ohio. That’s when he reportedly struck a
cab driver while intoxicated, and refused to pay
his fare. The incident also cost Hamm his job as
assistant men’s coach at Ohio State.
At a February hearing, the assault charge was
dropped, and Hamm received one year of probation.
“I regret having put myself in this position, but
now it is time to turn the page and look forward
to moving on with my personal and professional
objectives,” said Hamm, who is attempting to
make the 2012 Olympic team. IG
tions that come from restoring Austrian gymnas-
tics in the Olympic archives. “I don’t really want
to think about that as it will only distract me from
what I am supposed to do,” she says. “However,
I am pursuing to proudly and joyfully represent
Austria for the first time since 1964.”
Gasser’s path to London has not been easy,
however. A foot injury limited her to one event
(bars) at the 2009 worlds, and kept her out of
the ’ 10 worlds in Rotterdam. Her credible all-
around results last year included 40th place at
the Europeans, 10th at the University Games
and 69th at the worlds.