August - September 2004
India Sport Scene
Mohini Bharadwaj - Gymnast From USA
competing in the 1997 and 2001 World Championships, Mohini Bhardwaj
had high hopes going into the 2002 U.S. Championships. A dislocated
elbow on her first event dashed her dream and she decided to retire
from gymnastics. A year later, Mo has entered the gym again and hopes
to make a run at the 2004 Olympic team. India Link spoke to Mohini
about her retirement, her training and her goals for 2004
India Link: Why did you decide to retire after your elbow
injury at the 2002 U.S. Championships?
Mohini Bhardwaj: Well
obviously my body was broken down. I had
some school pending that I needed to finish.
I wanted to complete my education. Gym was
all I was focusing on for the three months
going into the meet and then to get hurt
on my first event was upsetting. After the
injury I was pretty bummed out.
felt like I wasted three months and didn't accomplish anything. Aside
from finishing school, I did not make the national team and that posed
financial problems. I was 24 and my parents were not paying for my stuff
anymore. When I went to meets I had to pay for my flight and [coach]
Chris [Waller]'s flight and a hotel room for each of us. I [was] over
$ 2,000 in debt and I needed to take time off and pay for that stuff.
So I got a job to start paying back my loans.
India Link: What
made you decide to come back?
Mohini: I miss the sport. I feel like I have unfinished
business. I have goals I want to accomplish. I have not
made an Olympic team and that is my ultimate goal.
India Link: You're currently coached by
Chris Waller, do you plan to stay in LA to train or
will you move to Florida to work with Rita Brown?
Mohini: I'm training
with Chris, Miss Val [Kondos Field] and the [UCLA] team.
I am training on and off at All Olympians with Jim Foody
and Galena Marenova and occasionally at Woodward West.
I work out the same time as the UCLA girls and I am usually
bouncing back and forth from those three clubs. Since
training again, I have been training with Chris most
of the time. I'm not 100 percent sure where I will end
Chris is an excellent coach and I am getting what I need
from my coaches. I have three different places to train
and many people want to help me. I am very lucky. It
is a collective effort from everyone. I am lucky so many
people want to help me. Most likely I'll stay out here.
A couple girls are training for the Olympics and I'll
train with them. Before trials I will probably move to
Woodward West and train there primarily leading into
India Link: What
skills are you training? Will you get a new floor routine?
Mohini: I got my
old skills back in a couple weeks. It wasn't hard. Let's
see, I have been doing a few new things. It seems like
the last time I competed was so long ago that it is hard
to think of what I was doing then. I have been landing
Yurchanko 2 ½'s on vault. I am also doing a Yurchanko
half-on layout front off. I am still doing the full-twisting
Pak on bars and now dismounting with [a] double-twisting
double layout. I am doing a bunch of new stuff on beam-mostly
the same skills just in different combinations, nothing
too new. I did add a double Arabian dismount. On floor
I am doing a running layout front-punch double front.
I will use the same routine I had last year. I never
had a chance to compete it. It will really all depend
on what is needed from me. We'll see when I start going
to the camps.
India Link: Do you
plan to attend future camps at the ranch?
Mohini: I went to all the camps in 2001. I was supposed
to go to camp in October but I tweaked my elbow the day
before I was to leave, so I decided to stay home and
get healthy. There is no point in me going all the way
down there [to] just sit around. It would be pointless.
India Link: Is it
tough going to camp with girls who are 10 years younger
Mohini: I haven't been in a year but I never had a problem
[before]. I was rooming with Tasha. Actually she was
here last weekend on her recruiting trip. I get along
with all the younger girls. There are a lot of TOPS girls
training at All Olympians, so I am used to it. I don't feel 25! (Laughs)
India Link: When
do you plan to be back in competition?
Mohini: I'll be in Classics. I'll do some exhibition
at UCLA meets and, depending on what meets the All Olympians
do, I'll probably go to a few club meets too.
India Link: What
motivates you now?
Mohini: I want closure
with the sport. I don't want to ask myself, "What
if I would have trained harder, done more routines?" My
ultimate goal is to make the Olympic team, compete at
the games and bring home a medal. I would be satisfied
finishing my career knowing that I gave 100 percent.
More India Sport Scene
Return to August - September 2004 contents