Gymnastics News Weekly: UCLA hires Janelle McDonald as new head coach

Plus, Caitlin Rooskrantz targets Commonwealth gold and a look back at the 1992 women's vault final.

By Scott Bregman
Picture by UCLA Athletics

The athletics department at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) announced this week the hiring of Janelle McDonald as its new women’s gymnastics head coach. McDonald, who heads to UCLA after four seasons as an assistant coach at in-state rival Cal, replaces Chris Waller who resigned last month.

"I am honored and so grateful to be joining the UCLA Athletics family! From the moment I stepped onto campus, I could feel the Bruin pride and tradition of excellence around every corner," said McDonald, according to a press release. "I would like to thank Martin Jarmond and Dr. Christina Rivera for entrusting my vision and passion to lead this program into its next chapter."

McDonald was honoured in 2020 and 2021 as the Women's Collegiate Gymnastics Association (WCGA) Regional Assistant Coach of the Year and was part of the 2021 College Gym News Coaching Staff of the Year.

Prior to her years at Cal, McDonald worked at WOGA Gymnastics in Dallas, Texas, working alongside 1996 Olympian Cecile Landi and her husband Laurent. During that time, 2016 Olympic gold and silver medallist Madison Kocian was training for the Rio Games.

"Janelle's passion and love for the sport radiates throughout her," said Kocian, who is a UCLA graduate. "She exudes qualities that will make an incredible head coach, mentor and leader for this program. I'm so excited to cheer her on as she upholds the UCLA Gymnastics legacy."

Olympian Caitlin Rooskrantz eyes Commonwealth medal

After making history last year as the first woman of colour to represent South Africa at the Olympic Games in gymnastics, along with teammate Naveen Dairies, Caitlin Rooskrantz is looking for more history: a first-ever gold medal at the Commonwealth Games.

Earlier this year, she won the first gold at an International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) World Cup when she won the uneven bars title at series’ stop in Cairo.

"It was a big moment for me as it was my second international medal. It was a great confidence booster, especially that it was our first international competition since the Olympics," Rooskrantz said, according to Sport24. "It set me up pretty well heading into the Commonwealth Games."

The 2022 Commonwealth Games are scheduled for 28 July-8 August in Birmingham, England, with gymnastics competition slated to begin on the 29.

ICYMI: Chuso targets Paris, SEA Games begin today with Carlos Yulo, Aleah Finnegan

In case you missed it, eight-time Olympian Oksana Chusovitina says she will train for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games after the delay of the Asian Games. The 46-year-old had intended to retire following the Tokyo Games, but returned to the sport with ending her career with a medal for Uzbekistan at the Asian Games in 2022.

Also, gymnastics competition at the Southeast Asian Games has begun this Friday (13 May) with two big name competitors: four-time world medalllist Carlos Yulo and former U.S. national team member Aleah Finnegan.

From the vault…

This week, we look back at the women’s vault final from the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona. Hungary’s Henrietta Onodi and Romania’s Lavinia Milosovici shared the gold medal with matching 9.925 scores. The Unified Team’s Tatiana Lysenko was third, scoring 9.912.

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