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2002 Women's Commonwealth Games Team

On July 14, Gymn.ca had the chance to meet with Canada's women's Commonwealth Games team during a training session prior to the team's departure for Manchester.

KYLIE STONE

Kylie Stone

On the Canadian Commonwealth Games team:

I think we're pretty strong, we're like working more as a team now, and encouraging each other more. I think we're going good.

Kylie hopes to make at least two event finals in Manchester (floor and beam). She will be in Manchester without her personal coaches, who will be back at home in Alberta. In total, she will be away from them for almost a month, although she speaks to them regularly on the phone.

What do you think your chances are in Manchester?

I think they're pretty good. Andrei said that there's a couple of strong teams, but he said that we can get second or third, so I think we have a good chance.

What are your personal goals?

To do my routines, like hit them strong. Do them good, and then make finals on at least floor and beam.

How about your own training?

Well, today wasn't bad. I kind of messed up a little on floor. I think I need to polish that a bit more, but I think I'm hitting pretty good.

How's your back?

Good.

Fully recovered?

Yep. Sometimes it gets stiff, but it's good.

How's it going without your personal coaches?

It's pretty good. Sometimes I get frustrated without them, because usually they know what's wrong and stuff. But I think if I just talk more to Elena and all the other coaches, I think it'll be going good.

Is this the first time you've been away from your coaches like this?

Yeah.

How long will it be from start to finish without them?

One month, I think.

That's a long time! Do you talk to them a lot?

Yeah. I've phoned them a couple of times.

Good luck!

Thanks.


HEATHER PURNELL

Heather Purnell

What do you think of your Commonwealth Games Canadian team?

I think we're going to do really well. I definitely think that Kate's going to help make the team really strong. She's experienced.

How does this compare with how you felt about Pacific Alliance?

At Pacific Alliance I was more concerned about the U.S. team, because they were looking really good, and now they're not there.

Less pressure?

Yeah.

Do you think you have a chance to beat the Aussies?

I'm not sure. I heard they were sending some juniors, so it's going to be a good competition.

Do you think you're one of the more experienced team members since competing at Pacific Alliance?

Well, three of us on the team went there, so I think we're all pretty even - except for Kate!

What are your goals personally?

I want to make an event final, and I just want to do well! And I want the team to do well.

Your vault was pretty amazing today. How were you able to improve so much on vault in such a short time?

I did the layout 1 in training for Pacific Alliance. And then I kind-of stopped working it when I went back home, and I just started it again.

So switching to the Yurchenko helped?

Oh yeah.

How is your body holding up?

It's good. There's just a few little things that go away in, like, a day. It's good.

Anybody going to Commonwealth's to support you?

Yeah, my mom is going down in the last week, and Tobie's going down, and my other coach, Lori.

Will Tobie be coaching you at all, or will it just be the team coaches, Elena and David?

All three of them during training, and then Tobie's going to be in the stands during the competition.

But if you competed in finals, would Tobie be able to coach you?

Yeah.

What about the rest of the year?

Summer! We get a week off, then back to training again.

Will you be doing some sightseeing?

I think so. The last day, probably. We'll probably do something with the team.

What do you think about competing a multi-sport event? Will you be staying in the athlete's village?

Yeah, we are. It's really exciting - I've never done it before. My sister was going to go, but she didn't end up going.

Your sister is quite an athlete!

Yeah, she's really good.

Do you think she has a chance at Athens?

I think she's aiming more for 2008. Right now she's off to junior worlds in Jamaica.

You come from a pretty athletic family! Were your parents athletes?

Yeah, my dad used to be an [Ottawa] Roughrider, and my mom was a golfer and a squash player.

So you come by your talents naturally!


VANESSA MELOCHE

Vanessa Meloche

Your thoughts on your team?

The team is really strong, and I'm really happy about it. And we're more of a team than when we first came here. We help each other more and more.

Do you have a goal for where you want to place?

I think we can place between first and third place - top three. That shouldn't be a problem.

So you think your best competition will be England and Australia? Have you seen the Australians?

Not really!

How about your own goals?

Bars finals, and vault. Today I didn't do my 1 , but I'm going to do Yurchenko 1 and piked front , so hopefully I'll be in finals. And floor I don't know yet because we're working on my feet a little bit, and then beam I don't know either.

How is your health?

Not bad, it's getting better. My feet were hurting a lot when I first came here, but we've been doing a lot of exercises, and now it's a lot better.

Have you been getting physio?

Yeah, a lot!

Any thoughts about a medal?

Yeah, I think bars I could get one. And vault, if I go strong and make my vaults I could go top three.

Anyone going over there to support you?

Yeah, my parents are going.

What do you think about being with all these other sports teams from all over the world?

I think it's going to be exciting. It's going to be a great experience, and we can get to know each other a little bit more. I've never done this before. It's going to be fun!

How is training in the US going?

Good!

Does it make it harder or more complicated?

No. Probably like the same as here. When I first came here they just ask me how I'm working, so I told them, and now they know me, so it's fine. It's a lot easier for them to coach me and everything.

What do you like about the Parkettes in particular?

It's good! You have to work hard, and you need the heart. If you want to work, you work, if you don't, well....

Have you made friends with any of your Parkettes teammates?

Yeah. Kristal Uzelac, Tia Orlando, Nicole Harris, Annie Fogarty, and some of the other little ones. Nicole Harris was staying with me.

So do you go to school in the U.S.?

I'm home schooled.

In French or English?

French! [laughs]

Are any of your Parkette coaches going to be going to the Commonwealth Games?

No.

What are you going to do after gymnastics?

Probably go to college gymnastics.

Which college are you thinking about?

I'm thinking about UCLA. I don't know about the other ones, but UCLA is my goal.


KATE RICHARDSON

Kate catches her Gienger

Welcome back, Kate. How do you feel?

Awesome! It feels good to be back here for training camps, and to be competing again.

Any setbacks along the way?

Um, not really - besides the whole major setback. The recovery went really smoothly, and there's not any pain anymore, so that's really good. It doesn't really bother me.

Full mobility?

Almost - my flexibility isn't the same as before - my bridge is kind of sucky! All my skills are the same. I've lost the handstand on beam, but it's not a major thing.

You didn't perform your backhandspring today, do you not quite have it back yet?

No, it's just that I tore my tricep a couple of weeks ago on that skill, but it's not a big deal. It's much better.

How about your tumbling? Is that the last thing to come back?

Yeah, my tumbling's always the last thing to be ready.

Do you have any idea what you are planning on tumbling?

Hopefully double arabian for the first pass, then we're kind of playing with the second pass, so I don't know yet. But hopefully 1 to 2 . And then double pike.

You've been to pretty much every competition there is to go to - the Olympics, World Championships, and so on, but this is your first Commonwealth Games. What do you think?

I'm so excited!! I've always wanted to go to Commonwealths, since I went in '94 when they were in Victoria, when Stella won. We drove over there on the bus and it took, like, 5 hours to get there and everything, and we watched it and it was so exciting. And then I've always wanted to go to Commonwealths since watching that, because the Canadians always do well, and it's so exciting. Plus, it's in England, too, and that's where David's from, and his sister. Plus, my grandma and my cousins live there, too, so I'll get to see them.

Are they going to be watching the meet?

Yeah.

Do you have a specific goal?

I don't really want to put any specific goals in my head, because I really don't know what I can expect of myself. Like, this is my first competition back, so I just want to go out and hit my routines. I don't want to set a specific number in my head, because then I'll just psyche myself out. I just want to go out there and compete again and hit my routines.

You've been out of the scene for a while, and everyone else has been competing like crazy.

They're doing awesome!

It's a whole new crowd isn't it?

Yeah, it's different having whole new teams. But they're doing really well. They've done awesome this year. Everybody's been training really hard and they look really great.

Sounds like they look up to you, are you aware of that?

[laughs] I don't know about that!. It's kind of weird. Before I was, like, the most inexperienced one, and then it's just like, all of a sudden I was the oldest. So it's kind of weird, and I don't know what to do.

I guess you'll just lead by example. What about your vault? What made you decide to go to that kind of vault?

[laughs] Well, I was doing the Khorkina vault until right before I came here, and they kept getting worse and worse and worse, and so David just said "try this vault".

So you just learned the layout when you got here?

Yeah.

So what happens after Commonwealths? You will go to UCLA, and then what happens next year?

I want to still compete at worlds next year. I don't want to be done yet - I just came back!

Have you talked to Andrei about that?

Yeah, Andrei would support it, and David supports me, too. And Jamie Dantzscher is still training really hard, so I'll have someone to train with.

And Miss Val is going to take care of you?

Yeah. She's happy about that.

Has David talked to her about that? Have they devised a training plan?

Yeah. I have no idea what they're planning!

What about individual worlds this year? Would you be able to go?

No. I'll just have gotten down there, and then to leave again.

Any idea what you want to major in?

No. I'm thinking maybe physiotherapy or something athletic like that.

Thanks, Kate, and best of luck!


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