Joann Barnes of FreePress.com caught up with Martha Karolyi and discussed Jordyn Wieber’s progress since winning the world All Around title last October in Tokyo. Jordyn has upgrades on Bars, Beam and Floor.
QUESTION: How’s Jordyn Wieber looking? How have the camps been for her?
ANSWER: “We had an excellent camp earlier in the year (in January). I actually was wondering how being the world champion would affect Jordyn. Sometimes, girls have the feeling that (once they) get there, now they can take it a little easier. Well, it did not happen to Jordyn, very fortunately. She was in good shape, and I could tell that she had been working on upgrading her routines and perfecting some of the skills that were not of the extremely highest level. As I see, she can be competing in a very good condition at American Cup and be a contender for Olympic trials.”
Q: You were talking earlier about upgrades. Are you talking specifically about uneven bars and beam?
A: “A little bit on bars, (but) she also has a few additions on beam, which will bring her start value higher up. At this past world championships, she did good performance — her execution scores were very high — but I felt a little bit the start value did not go to the level. But for that moment, that was a good decision. We talked together with John (Geddert), and we wanted her to have a good, very positive experience, and be able to compete with something that she feels confident. But now it’s time to add a little bit, and I think she will add about four-tenths to her start value (on beam), which will be very comfortable.
“On bars, a little bit of upgrade there, a little bit more preciseness on some of the technical execution of the skills. Those are the plans. Her vault is good — improved even — on the height and precision. On floor, she is also working on little additions.”
Q: Is Jordyn’s strength her strength? At worlds, on uneven bars, she almost lost a skill but fought through it.
A: ”Yes, I know what you are talking about. It was a tough moment when one of her skills didn’t come out perfect, but she didn’t give up and was able to handle that. She trains very seriously, and she knows that when she starts a routine, that routine needs to be completed, no matter what. The other part is her mental strength; she is extremely tough, very determined, and able to think in very tough situations.”
Q: As a world champion, do you expect Jordyn to be a leader on the team?
A: ”In a team situation, all the girls are equal. And all the girls, together, their strength comes from the unity of the team. So what we want is for these girls to be totally united, totally cheering for each other. I, personally, don’t want to name somebody as a leader. There is a team captain that’s elected, because it’s required by Olympic committee, but in my mind, everybody’s effort put together makes the team successful, not one single person.”