New Coaches and Old Stars with the Mexican Team

Did you know Mexico's national rhythmic gymnastics team is now coached by the beautiful Olga Gontar from Belarus, the 1993 junior European champion, and by the celebrated Bulgarian coach Lyudmila Dimitrova who has worked with many stars in both Russia and Bulgaria? Well, they started working in Mexico in the beginning of 2011 and I am sure will bring great results to the team.

But the true star at the Pan American Games was a gymnast with a long history, Cynthia Valdez. She took the silver medal at the Pan American games and won the gold medals with hoop and clubs. Had she not made some mistakes in the all around, she would have been an uncontroversial Pan American champion! Here is her hoop routine, in which she shows forceful and passionate gymnastics for sure. Her clubs are even more interesting and I wish she performed them error-free.

Fans have been debating whether Cynthia or American Julie Zetlin deserved to win the Pan American all around gold. While I like both of them, I am increasingly impressed with Cynthia, and hope to see her ahead of Julie in the future. The 23-year old Cynthia, who has won bronze medals in previous Pan American Games events in 2003 and 2007, stayed away from the sport for almost 2 years due to injuries. I think Cynthia's absence from the international carpet may have made her less of a favorite in the minds of the judges. I would have loved to see her at the Olympics, but now that many gymnast stay in the sport until age 25-26, I am really hoping she will find strength and motivation to stay, even if she is not competing in London next year.