The Australian Mens team did not qualify to compete as a team in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. They must improve upon their 18th placing in 1997 in order to finish in the top 12 teams at this years worlds to qualify for the Sydney Games. Led by the native Russian, now Australian, Andrei Kravstov, our men have a real chance.
Andrei Kravstov Brennon Dowrick Bret Hudson
Phillipe Rizzo Adrian Looney
Daniel Grigson Pavel Mamin
| ANDREI KRAVTSOV (AIS)|
The fairy tale story of Andrei Kravstov began in Kursk, Russia where he was born. He took up gymnastics at the age of 7 and at 13, left home to attend a sports secondary school. One of the top 3 Soviet juniors in the late 1980's, Kravstov tired of the sport and in 1991 left the USSR to join the Royal London Circus with which he toured Europe and Asia for two years. A romance with an Austalian girl in Malaysia led him to the Gold Coast in 1993, where he resumed his gymnastic training. National Coach, Warwick Forbes asked him to come and train at the AIS, and in 1995, Kravstov received his Australian Citizenship. He shared a house with Russian swimming sensation Alexandr Popov for two years. Competing at the 1995 World Championships in Sabae, he came 27th AA, qualifying for the 1996 Olympic Games. Yet six weeks before the Games, Kravtsov snapped hi right Achilles' tendon practicing a full twisting double layout on floor. The injury required surgery and the closest he got to Atlanta gold was watching Popov win in the pool. Still not at full strenght in 1997, he lost his National Title to Bret Hudson, but recovered to place 19th AA at the Worlds - the best ever by an Australian man. In 1998, Kravstov won back his National crown and also claimed victory at the AA at the Pacific Alliance Championships, and won 4 gold medals at 98 Commonwealth Games, winning the AA by 0.650 point. In 1999, he won his fourth National AA Championship and has had great success in Europe, winning the Steffi Cup in Bulgaria, and placing 2nd AA at the Aus vs Esp vs Ger meet. Kravstov's laid back style and ability to cope shrug off pressure is certain to favour him at this year's worlds, where he'll be looking to gain selection in the 2000 Olympics.
| BRENNON DOWRICK (AIS)|
Dowrick started at the AIS in 1984, and 2 Olympics, 6 World Championships, 3 AA National Titles and 11 medals from 3 Commonwealth Games later, he has become the AIS's longest serving athlete. Highlights of his career include gold on the PH at both the 1990 and 94 Commonweath Games, and a 35th AA placing at the Atlanta Olympics. Dowrick says that losing the 1994 team gold in Cananda by 1/100 of a point was one of the lowest points of his career, and made a pact with teammate Nathan Kingston to avenge the loss and take team gold in Kuala Lumpur. However it was not to be, as the Australian men had some uncharacteristic stumbles, they again had to settle for silver. Yet, he placed 3rd AA there, and although failing to qualify for the PH final where he hoped to win his 3rd gold from 3 games, teammate Bret Hudson gave Dowrick his place to give him that chance. Dowrick lives in Canberra with wife Kim and son Nathan.
| PHILLIPE RIZZO (AIS)|
Rizzo was born into a gymnastic family - his father Andre was an Olympian in 1960 and brother Blaise an Australian champion in 86 and 88. He has continued in this strong tradition and has produced excellent results overseas. Coached by Vladimir Vatkin, he placed 3rd AA and 1st HB at this years Nationals following up on a very successful 1998. At the World Youth Games in Moscow, Rizzo was 4th AA, 2nd HB and =3rd FX. At the 98 Commonwealth Games he place 5th on HB, certainly his specialty, characterised by great combinations, a Def and a layout double double dismount. More recently Rizzo placed 7th AA at the Steffi Cup in Bulgaria and is competing in the Pusan Intl. I believe that Rizzo has a very bright future.
BRET HUDSON (AIS)|
Announcing his retirement just before the 1999 Nationals, I had to include Bret in these profiles because of his fantastic accomplishments. A fantastic AA gymnast, over the years Bret's program has included a Goczoghy to german uprise on Rings, an O'Neill into Goczoghy also on Rings, an opening Flair sequence on PB and a double twisting Yurchenko on Vault. Representing Australia at 5 (I think) World Championships, Bret earned a spot on the Atlanta team due to Kravstov's injury. He had a lot of success on Vault: Gold 94 Commonwealth Games and 96 Australia Cup, Bret also favoured the High Bar, competing a piked Kovacs and double twisting double layout. He took gold on HB with a 9.700 at the 98 Pacific Alliance Championships in a top class field. Bret was the 97 National Champion and was unlucky not to win again in 98, after 2 falls on HB in the last rotation.
|ADRIAN LOONEY (AIS)|
An up-and-coming star for Australia, Looney was the 1997 Junior National Champion and in that same year was the AA champion at the Foxtel Challenge Aus vs USA. In 1998 he placed 9th AA at nationals as a senior , placed 19th AA at Pusan Intl, 11th AA at Australia Cup and 4th AA at Canberra Cup. One of the only men to compete a double layout on FX, Looney did not contest this years National Championships due to injury. He recently made the move from the Queensland HPC to the AIS.
|DANIEL GRIGSON (AIS)|
A solid performer for Australia over the years, Grigson is coached by Vladimir Vatkin at the AIS. He competed at the 97 Worlds and was part of the successful 98 Pacific Alliance Team. The unlucky reserve for the 98 Commonwealth Games, Grigson placed 6th AA, 3rd FX and 4th Rings at the 98 Australia Cup in Melbourne.
|PAVEL MAMIN (AIS)|
Born in Moscow, Kravstov's sidekick Mamin, also met an Australian dancer in Malaysia whilst on tour with the Circus. Considered more of a "specialist" than an AA gymnast, Mamin excels on the Rings, where he won the Commonwealth Games Gold Medal. He is also not too shabby on Vault, where he competes a full twisting Kasamatsu. 6th AA in both 98 and 99 National Championships, he was sent to Korea to contest the Rings at the 99 Pusan International. He also coaches at the AIS.