|Alexander's Competitive Results|
1994 Elite Canada - 1st AA (junior)
1995 Canada Winter Games - 1st AA
1995 Canadian Championships - 1st AA (junior), 6th SR (senior)
1995 CAN vs. USA - 1st AA
1995 Elite Canada - 8th AA
1996 Canadian Championships - 7th AA
1996 CAN vs. uSA - 3rd AA
1996 Junior Pan Ams - 1st AA
1996 Hungarian International - 15th AA
1997 American Cup - 17th AA 1997 Canadian Championships - 1st AA
1997 Elite Canada - 7th AA
1997 World Championships - TM, 61st AA (prelims)
1998 Canadian Championships - 2nd AA
1998 Sagit Cup - 6th HB
1998 Commonwealth Games - 3rd TM, 5th AA, 5th SR, 7th PB, 1st HB
1998 Elite Canada - 4th AA
1999 Canadian Championships 2nd AA, 1st HB
1999 Pan American Games - 3rd TM, 2nd AA, 1st HB
1999 World Team Trials 1st AA
1999 World Championships - 2nd HB, 28th AA
1999 Swiss Cup 5th FX, 7th HB
1999 DTB Cup - 8th FX
2000 Swiss Cup - 4th HB, 17th FX
2000 Cottbus Cup - 1st HB, 13th FX
2000 Canadian Championships - 1st AA
2000 FIG World Cup (Ljubliana) - 1st HB, 7th FX
2000 Olympic Games - 24th HB
2000 DTB Cup - 7th HB
2000 World Cup Final - 3rd HB
2001 Canadian Championships - 2nd AA|
2001 Goodwill Games - 5th HB, 7th PB
2001 World Championships - 12th TM
2001 Glasgow Grand Prix - 3rd HB, 7th FX
DTB Cup: 3rd HB
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Courtesy of Grace Chiu
Alexander "Sasha" Jeltkov has made more than a splash in the Canadian gymnastics scene since he first moved to this country in the early 1990's. Born in Soviet Georgia in the city of Tbilissi on February 25, 1978, Jelktov dominated the Canadian junior division in 1995 - claiming all-around golds at Elite Canada, the Canada Winter Games, and the Canadian Championships! For good measure, he also took first place at the Canada vs. USA junior dual meet. At the 1995 Canadian Championships, as the junior winner in the still rings, Jeltkov had the chance to compete against the seniors in the apparatus finals, where he showed a good inverted cross-bail to inverted cross combo and a tucked Guzhogy - en route to a respectable 6th place finish in the event.
1996 was also a very successful year for this talented gymnast, coached by Michel Venne and Serge Castonguay at the Centre Immaculée Conception in Montreal, Quebec. While competing at home as a senior, he finished 8th all-around at Elite Canada and 7th all-around at the Canadian Championships. Internationally he achieved excellent results in his last year at the junior level with a third place finish at the Canada vs. USA competition as well as a first place all-around showing at the prestigious Junior Pan American Games in Guatemala - a competition usually dominated by the Americans and Cubans. He also made his senior international debut that year, finishing 15th at the Hungarian Invitational.
By the year 1997, Jeltkov was ready to continue his rise on the Canadian national scene. He began the year with a 17th place finish at the American Cup and continued to build on his performances from there. He then established himself as the Canadian gymnast to beat with senior all-around victories at both Elite Canada and the Canadian Championships! Later that same year he competed in his first World Championships in Lausanne, Switzerland. Although his 61st place in preliminaries was not enough to advance to the all-around finals, he was indeed providing the groundwork for the international successes he would achieve in the years to come.
It was in the year 1998 where Jelktov really began to make a name for himself as a high bar speciallist. At Vancouver's Sagit Cup - the only North American stop on the World Cup circuit, he qualified for high bar finals where he finished 6th. Later that year he took home the gold medal on the same event at the Commonwealth Games - where he also took third with the Canadian team and fifth in the all-around. Perhaps his biggest accomplishment that year came later at the China Cup in Tianjin - host city for the 1999 World Championships - where he finished 4th in the high bar finals in a top class international field.
As a result of his 1998 successes, Jeltkov entered the year 1999 with confidence. Though he only qualified in 5th place for the Canadian Pan American Games team, he proved his worth was much higher at the actual Games in Winnipeg, where he thrilled the supportive Canadian crowd with a surprising silver medal in the all-around competition and the individual title in the high bar. Jelktov consistently performed his high bar routine with total mastery - and the all important 10.0 start value. His ability to hit this routine under pressure made him a definite contender for a medal on this event at the World Championships. But could he continue his success at the highest of international level? Would he rise to the occasion?
The 1999 World Championships in Tianjin, China brought out the full range of emotions for the Canadian men's team. Disappointed with their 18th place rank in the team competition - after more than two years of centralized training in Hanwell, New Brunswick - Jeltkov left the men's team some hope by qualifying for finals in the all-around (where he finished 28th) and his best event, the high bar. The Canadian men performed exceptionally well on this, their best event - earning the 4th highest team score of the competition! Jeltkov was able to qualify for the finals with a slightly improvised routine. After missing the intended connection between his slip grip endo-1/2 and Kovacs release, Jelktov knew he would be short on start value so performed a more difficult dismount than usual: a layout double twisting double. Despite a small hop on the landing, he found himself in the high bar finals. Once there, he made his first release combination well and later performed a second Kovacs release (instead of the layout Gaylord 2 release he had used in preliminaries - talk about versatility under pressure!) and stuck his full twisting double layout dismount en route to a silver medal! This amazing accomplishment ended the championships on an incredibly high note for the Canadian men. Jeltkov became only the second Canadian ever to medal at the World Championships - equaling the accomplishment of Curtis Hibbert who earned a silver on the same apparatus 12 years prior, as well as a vault bronze in 1992.
Courtesy of Grace Chiu
Jelktov's silver medal earned him an A card from Sport Canada as well as a guaranteed position at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. But Jeltkov was not one to rest on his laurels. A series of impressive results on the World Cup circuit in the year 2000 gave Jeltkov the number one ranking on the FIG's ranking list in the high bar - the first Canadian gymnast ever to achieve such status. His number one ranking, combined with the unfortunate injury of two time world high bar champion Jesus Carballo from Spain, made Jeltkov a favourite for possible high bar gold at the Sydney Olympics. But it was not to be. Competing in the very first session at the Games, Jeltkov hit a solid set - with only a slight hop on the dismount as room for fault. Many observers felt that had he competed in a later session, he would have easily qualified for the apparatus finals. Unfortunately, he ranked only 24th and had to watch the finals from the stands.
Seemingly undaunted, Jeltkov continued to train towards the World Cup Finals in Glasgow Scotland, where he earned another international medal, a bronze, on his specialty. If there were any doubt as to his status as a world class high bar performer, his World Cup performance but this to rest.
Jeltkov and his Canadian teammates entered the year 2001 with renewed goals and expectations. At the 2001 Canadian Championships, Jeltkov took home his 5th consecutive all-around medal - a silver, to go along with the gold medals he won in 1997 and 2000, and the silvers in 1998 and 1999. In late October, Jeltkov headed to Ghent, Belgium with the rest of the Canadian team for the 2001 World Championships. Strong scores on all six events contributed well to the team total, which was enough to put the Canadian men in 12th place. Unfortunately, a score of 8.925 on his specialty event, the high bar, was not enough to qualify Jeltkov to his second World Championships final. He will, however, have many opportunities to redeem himself in 2002 with the Pacific Alliance Championships, Commonwealth Games, individual World Championships and the World Cup final on the calendar, not to mention the usual Grand Prix series.
As the men's programme continues to develop with the guidance of new national coach Edouard Iarov, Jeltkov and his teammates are in a good position to increase their world ranking this year in Ghent, Belgium, with the ultimate goal of full team Olympic qualification looming at the 2003 World Championships in Anaheim, California. Hopefully this Olympic cycle will be as successful for Jeltkov as the last one - the team will surely continue to benefit from his experience and ability to hit routines under pressure.
Updates: Since competing at the 2000 Olympics, Jeltkov continued to be a strong force on the Canadian men’s team. He competed in three more world championships (2001, 2002, 2003) – helping the Canadian team qualify for the 2004 Olympics while individually qualifying for the all-around and high bar finals. He also regularly ranked #1 on the FIG’s ranking list on the high bar, took an all-around bronze at the 2002 Commonwealth Games, and a gold on the high bar at the 2003 Glasgow World Cup. In 2005, he won gold on the high bar at the Canadian Championships.
Jeltkov has not competed so far in 2006 and his future in competitive gymnastics is uncertain.
Written by Christopher Scott