Headed to GingerLand

When I signed up to teach English in Germany, I was only scheduled to be here for six weeks. The timing was perfect because at the end of those six weeks, I would go be a spectator at the world championships and fly home. However, I was asked to extend my contract through the end of the year and I agreed on the condition that I still got to go to worlds. Through a series of events, the very talented Lauren Hopkins was no longer able to go as a a media representative. She asked me if I would go and be her eyes and ears and I think I agreed before she finished speaking. I am THRILLED beyond words to be headed to Glasgow TOMORROW! I should make it in time for Men’s Podium Training featuring Team USA! I, as well as Lauren, will be giving updates through the Gymternet

This year is a big year. It’s the first step in a long process of qualifications for the Olympic Games next year in Rio. The U.S. women are favored to win gold as they have every year since 2011 (with the exception of 2013 only because there was no team medal up for grabs,) and every pre-Olympic year since 2003. They are dominant. Actually, they are so dominant, even with a catastrophic performance they would probably still top the podium. Should they,when they finish in the top 8 this year, they will automatically earn, as a team, a spot to compete in Rio. For the men, they are good, very good, but just don’t have the same domination as the women….yet. That title belongs the the Chinese Team. With the loss of Sam Mikulak, due to injury, (Get Well Soon!) some have speculated that the men may not make the top 8 at this year’s championships. While he his an invaluable piece of Team USA, we have a pair of incredible alternates ready to step in. While I think their chances of repeating standing on the podium got a bit harder with Sam’s absence, I do not think they are in ANY danger of not automatically qualifying to RIO.

To my avid and faithful readers who have been following me from the start, I will do my absolute best to explain how the qualification process works and keep you up-to-date throughout the championships. USA Gymnastics is doing a PHENOMENAL job bringing us coverage.

World Championships Video Coverage Schedule

Podium Training Videos

I would highly encourage you to watch and cheer on these athletes! Gymnastics is a sport that often gets pushed to the side, except for the Olympic year. Get a head start for next year. To help you, I’ll give you a quick and efficient table. This list is by no mean exhaustive in measure of each gymnast’s accomplishments but for the non gym nerd (NO SLIDE) it should be a quick overview of who to watch.

Who You Should Know:

Gabby Douglas Reigning Olympic AA and Team Gold Medalist
Aly Raisman Reigning Olympic Floor and Team Gold Medalist; Beam Bronze Medalist
Simone Biles 2 time Defending World AA Champion

9 time World medalist

The current American record for world medals is held by Alicia Sacramone with 10. Simone should tie that with absolute certainty with a team medal this championships. She also comes in as the 2013/2014 Floor Champion, 2014 Beam Champion, and 2013/2014 Vault Silver Medalist. She has not lost a meet since March of 2013. So realistically, based on her past performances, she could walk about of this championships with another 5 medals in total.

Other members of the team are Madison Kocian (2014 World Champion,) Brenna Dowell (2014 AT&T American Cup Silver Medalist and 2013 World Team Member,) Maggie Nichols (2014 Pan American Champion,) and Mykayla Skinner (2014 World Champion and Vault Bronze Medalist.)

I’ll give you some more information on the Men’s Team next time!

As far as teaching goes, it’s been an interesting past ten days. Last week, the children were on holiday again. There were some great moments, we went to Sea Life ( an aquarium of sorts,) and talked about the different fish and where they came from. We went swimming and walked along the river. Essentially, it was a week of field trips. On the way to Sea Life, we actually ran out of gas (I wasn’t driving because I can’t drive stick shift…yet.) It was fairly comical on my end. Esther had trouble starting the car that morning and thought it was because of the frigid cold. As we were driving, the car kept sputtering along and when we were almost there, she realized we were completely and totally out of gas… and so as the German say….the car went kaputt. 2015-10-15 16.54.10

Esther had to call her mother and we sat for about an hour and a half in the middle of the road in the freezing rain. And so I started more English lessons with the kids. We put on some music and had a dance party and made the best of a slightly frustrating/slightly comical situation.

2015-10-15 16.54.31-2

Last Friday, we had what I lovingly refer to as “Fun Friday.” It’s my favorite day of the week. On Friday, English lessons revolve around baking and watching Harry Potter in English. The kids are enthusiastic and I am enthusiastic. It makes for a really lovely day of teaching. 2015-10-16 15.37.20 2015-10-16 15.25.20

I wish all days were like this,but then you wouldn’t be able to treasure those special moments if you didn’t experience some hard times as well. This week, the kids went back to school and so we are on our normal teaching rotations. This has been the hardest week yet. The screaming and kicking, tantrums and hitting has been at an all-time high. Esther has been nothing short of fabulous through this week. She is encouraging and thoughtful and offers insight and experience.

However, tomorrow I leave for Glasgow…have I mentioned that, or how excited I am about it??? Oh and SURPRISE!!! Mom has decided to make the trip to come and see me! I actually didn’t think she was going to be able to come for a while! Thank you to all of you who encouraged her to come! It will be nice to have a bit of home here with me!

I hope your Wednesday is nothing short of spectacular!

Blessings,

Kens

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