Full Twist’s 2012 Highlights

FT

Many blogs and websites have been posting their highlights of the 2012 gymnastics year.These are just a few personal highlights from the site from the year 2012.

January 2012 - London 2012 Olympic Gymnastics Test Event

In January I took the short trip over to London to spend six days reporting on Artistic Gymnastics from the London 2012 Olympic Gymnastics Test Event. This event qualified the remaining 4 Artistic Gymnastics teams for the 2012 Olympic Games. It also qualified 34 individual female gymnasts and 27 individual male gymnasts, those selected through the All Around competition. The event also allowed the organizers to run the event as it would run during the Olympic Games, learning from trial and error. This was my second time reporting live from an International competition

The busy, yet enjoyable schedule meant working for up to 14 hours a day in the O2 Arena. Luckily I stayed close by so as not to have to travel too far from the arena every morning and evening. Experiencing gymnastics at this level was fantastic and hey. who doesn’t like rubbing shoulders with the gymnasts! Here, while reporting live from the event I met with some fantastic people such as Rick McCharles (Gymnastics Coaching), Blythe Lawrence (Gymnastics Examiner) and Lisa Deen (GymPower). I also had the chance to make some people very happy in revealing that an Olympic dream had indeed come true.

January 2012 – Kieran Behan qualifies for the London 2012 Olympic Games

As mentioned above, I had the chance to make some people very happy in revealing that Kieran Behan had qualified for the London 2012 Olympic Games. Kieran became the first Irish gymnast to qualify for the Olympics (Barry McDonald competed in Atlanta ’96 by means of a wild card). I followed and reported Kieran’s every step at the test event, where he just missed out on a medal behind Great Britain’s Kristian Thomas. Those back home began to discover Kieran, hearing about the Irish gymnast who was told twice that he may never walk again. After an agonizing wait, BBC’s Ollie Williams (then sports / gymnastics reporter) handed me a piece of paper with the amazing news. I felt so proud, someone could have told me that Kieran had won gold and I would have felt just as proud. It was an amazing moment for our sport in Ireland. Following this, Full Twist’s footage of Kieran at the Test Event was used on television across the world, on RTE, BBC and Al Jazeera.  Seeing the Full Twist name rolling in the credits on television was rather exciting!

May 2012 – Men’s European Championships

In May I was extremely lucky to attend the MAG European Championships on behalf of Gymnastics Ireland in Montpellier, France. Whilst coverage for Full Twist took a back seat on this occasion, Irish gymnastics fans received great coverage on their Junior and Senior European Teams, the latter which featuring Olympian Kieran Behan. Thank you to all for your emails and comments of thanks.I spent time learning how it works behind the scenes, the gymnasts warming up, resting, training, eating, receiving physiotherapy, it was all very interesting. During competition I reported live from the arena, again concentrating on the Irish delegation, only in the event finals did I really get the chance to take a look at the massive amount of talent in European gymnastics. Thank you once again to Gymnastics Ireland for this wonderful opportunity.

July 2012 – Chinese Olympic Team training camp

I was truley priviliged to be invited to watch the Chinese Men’s and Women’s Olympic Teams training in Northern Ireland ahead of the Olympic Games. I spent over an hour watching the gymnasts train in preparation for the Games, taking notes, photographs and video for Full Twist. Whilst the gymnasts were not available for interview and with only one translator available, I did get the chance to speak with the Head of Delegation, Ye Zhennan who provided plenty of information and insight. The only thing that was missing from this training session would have been to see He Kexin working on bars up that close.

July & August 2012 – London 2012 Olympic Games

Unfortunately I did not apply for Media Accreditation in time to attend the Olympic Games as Full Twist to report so I attended as a spectator. Whilst it was my own fault, I was not happy to see many of the Press Area’s empty with no one using the desks. This happened to be the case when watching from home on television and in the arena itself.

I managed to purchase tickets to two WAG qualification subdivisions (featuring USA, Canada, Germany, China, Russia etc), the WAG All Around and WAG Team Finals. This was my first Olympic Games to attend and a memory that I will treasure forever. During my three days, I met and bumped into many gymnasts and coaches, Nastia Liukin, Larissa Latynina, Elizabeth Price, Sarah Finnegan, Giulia Steingruber, Anna Li, Mary Lou Retton and Alicia Sacramone – to name a few.

I am lucky enough to live just a cheap 50 minute flight away from London so traveling to and from was tiring yet, extremely easy. You may think that I am crazy for traveling over and back to London three times in five days but living so close meant that it was able to be done, also, I don’t know what life will have brought me by Rio 2016 so now was the time to do it, because I could.

Interviews

In the later half of 2012, I began conducting some interviews. I began close to home speaking with some of the Irish gymnasts to introduce them to the world, Sophie McCoo, India McPeak, Luke Carson and Andrew Smith. I also spoke with Australian gymnasts Mary Anne Monckton and Kiara Munteanu.  In July I also spoke with China’s Olympic Head of Delegation Ye Zhennan. The aim for 2013 is to conduct more regular interviews with gymnasts worldwide. Gymnasts and Coaches, should you like to be interviewed, please get in touch via the Contact Page.

2012 was a great year for Full Twist. The site has expanded, gained more momentum, readers and followers. As well as running the site, I work full time in my day job and coach gymnastics in the evenings and weekends. Time to work on Full Twist is limited, I don’t earn money from the site but I try to keep the updates as frequent as possible.  In 2013, I hope to add more writers and expand on the disciplines and events covered. Should you be interested, please get in touch via the contact page. You don’t have to have any prior experience, I started off with none and have been learning as I go along.

Some images from the last 12 months:

 

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