April 15, 2011
STANFORD, Calif. - Stanford women's gymnastics coach Kristen Smyth announced the signing of world-class gymnasts Ivana Hong, a two-time U.S. national champion, and Becky Wing, a 2008 Olympian from England, to letters of intent.
They join Samantha Shapiro, one of America's top elite gymnasts and an Olympic hopeful for 2012, and Pauline Hanset to form an all-star Stanford recruiting class for the 2012 season.
Hong's achievements include U.S. senior elite national titles at the 2009 Visa Championships in Dallas when she won the balance beam and vault, and captured a silver medal in the all-around.
Hong was born in Massachusetts and her family now lives in California. She trains at the renowned World Olympic Gymnastics Academy in Plano, Texas, under Valeri Liukin.
A 2008 U.S. Olympic team alternate, Hong won international team gold medals at the 2007 World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany, and at the 2007 Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Individually, Hong earned a Pan Am bronze in the all-around and a world championship bronze on the beam in London in 2009.
"Ivana Hong is an exquisite gymnast who will take the collegiate gymnastics community by storm," Smyth said. "She is elegant, athletic, and breathtaking to watch."
Wing, no relation to former Stanford All-American Lindsay Wing, has a wealth of international experience. She has competed in two world championships (Stuttgart in 2007 and London in 2009) in addition to helping Great Britain finish ninth in the team competition at the 2008 Beijing Games.
A native of Farnborough, England, Wing trains at the Heathrow Gymnastics Club under Vince and Michelle Walduck, and Natalia Illenko-Jarvis.
"Becky is a beautiful and elegant gymnast and exceptional on beam and bars," Smyth said. "She has international flair, sophisticated style, and a level of maturity well beyond her years."
Stanford's team already has a strong international flavor. Freshman Kristina Vaculik is Canada's reigning all-around champion, freshman Shona Morgan competed for Australia in the 2008 Olympics, Canadian junior Alyssa Brown was a 2008 Olympic alternate, junior Nicole Pechanec competed in three world championships for the Czech Republic, and fifth-year senior Allyse Ishino was an alternate on the U.S. Olympic team in 2004.
Upon receiving letters of intent from Hong and Wing on Friday, Stanford gains even more elite international experience.
"We are excited to welcome these exceptional students and world-class athletes to the Stanford family," Smyth said.