2001 Canadian junior men's champion Matthew Ryan is a gymnast on the rise, hoping to make his mark on the Canadian senior scene. Ryan was born January 14, 1984 in Halifax, Nova Scotia - the same city where he still trains at the Alta Gymnastics Club under coach Tak Kikuchi. Although he is young, Ryan already has extensive competitive experience, having represented his country at international competitions since 1996.
Ryan competed at his first Canadian Championships in 1994 - and starting in 1996 he began an incredible run, winning all-around medals at every nationals for 6 years in a row. In addition to his many national championships appearances, he has also twice competed at the Canada Winter Games in gymnastics - in 1999 he was the flag bearer for his province in the Opening Ceremonies. Many Canadian fans might remember him from this competition, where TSN included an athlete profile on him in which he dedicated his performance to his late grandfather. TSN also featured his high bar routine during this competition, where he showed his trademark dismount - a layout triple twisting flyaway. He is also capable of throwing a quad twist dismount.
Ryan is hopeful that there will be enough funding to send him to major junior international invitationals throughout the world, including the prestigious Canberra Cup in Australia. His long term goal is to represent Canada at the 2008 Olympic Games. In order to get there, Ryan plans to "get as physically strong as possible and to increase start values on all 6 events." Outside of the gym, he enjoys swimming, going to the beach, boating, and "being as normal a teenager as possible."
Ryan already has an impressive repertoire of skills, including a 2 ½ punch front and triple twist on floor and a Def release on his favourite event, high bar. He hopes to compete either a Yurchenko or Tsukahara double twist eventually, as well as more difficult strength elements on rings and stretched circles and more single pommel work on pommel horse.
Matthew Ryan has a terrific attitude towards gymnastics. His advice to other aspiring gymnasts is simple: "if you can work through the tough times, the rest is just fun." Ryan's positive outlook could soon bring him to the top of Canadian men's gymnastics.
Written by Christopher Scott