We still can't get over the fact that Shawn Johnson is going to appear on Dancing with the Stars, but for Shawn herself, it's all too real. She has begun rehearsing with partner Mark Ballas, who won the show two years ago with then-partner Kristi Yamaguchi. ABC Medianet has posted some pics of Shawn and Mark practicing (see below). Meanwhile, Shawn reportedly told Inside Gymnastics that she intends to return to gymnastics after Dancing with the Stars. "Definitely," she said of her return to the gym. "After the show, I'll get back in the gym, start with gymnastics again and see where it takes me." The eighth season of the show will premiere on March 9 with a live, two-hour special.
Shawn Johnson and Mark Ballas (photos: ABC Medianet)
Last year, Becky Downie was crowned British champion and finished 12th in the Olympic all-around final in her first year as a senior gymnast. Now she will start her competition year earlier than ever in a bid to make 2009 equally successful, competing at the American Cup on February 21. This is what Downie told British Gymnastics about her upcoming assignment: "We’ve been working towards the American Cup since New Year, getting solid routines ready for competition. I think Britain was keen to send somebody to this competition, and Claire (my coach) felt it would be a good competition to get me going and focus my training towards. It will be the first time I’ve competed in America and the first time I’ve competed so early in the year, so it has definitely helped me to get into good shape, ready for the European Championships at the start of April.”
Becky Downie, looking forward to going to America
(Photo: Bernhard Schwall/Gymfan)
Gymnastics Australia reports that 14-year-old Emily Little, who recently won the AYOF vault final, will be Australia's sole representative at the annual Gymnix competition in Montreal, Canada, to be held March 5-8. Little is profiled here. Meanwhile, Little's WAIS club mate Lauren Mitchell will not compete at the Doha World Cup, as previously reported, but at the Salamunov Memorial in Maribor, Slovenia, to be held April 17-19. No news as yet of any upcoming international assignments for Dasha Joura, who hasn't been seen in action since the Olympics.
Emily Little (photo: Mark Nolan/Getty Images)
International Gymnast has a list of participants of the WOGA Classic, which will be held in Frisco, Texas, tomorrow. The host club, which has produced the last two Olympic champions in the women's all-around, will be represented by Christa Tanella, Briley Casanova, Sophia Lee, Lily Hardin, Grace McLaughlin and Taylor Spears. We look forward to seeing which of these young ladies will be WOGA's next star (Rebecca Bross and Ivana Hong are not competing). Foreign competitors in Frisco include Canada's Sydney Sawa (a beam finalist at last year's DTB Cup), young Lithuanian standout Laura Svilpaite, Russians Kristina Kruglikova and Anastasia Karpova, and Ukrainians Yana Demyanchuk, Natalia Kononenko and Yevgenia Cherniy. The same Russian and Ukrainian girls will take part in the Nadia Comaneci Invitational the week after, along with Sandra Izbasa and Dana Druncea of Romania (Andreea Grigore appears to have been taken off the list). Nastia Liukin will reportedly be on hand in Oklahoma to commentate the competition.
Exciting newcomer Laura Svilpaite will also start her competitive year in America
(Photo: Bernhard Schwall/Gymfan)