|Danielle's Competitive Results|
1996 Ontario Tour Selection, Novice: 1st AA
1997 Elite Ontario, Novice: 1st AA
1997 Canadian Championships, Novice: 1st Team, 2nd AA
1997 Elite Canada, Novice: 2nd AA
1998 Elite Ontario, Novice: 1st AA, 2nd V, 1st BB, 1st FX
1998 Canadian Championships, Novice HP: 1st Team, 1st AA, 1st V, 2nd UB, 1st BB, 2nd FX
1998 Elite Canada, Junior: 7th AA, 3rd BB, 6th FX
1998 Canberra Cup: 20th AA, 8th BB
1999 Elite Canada, Junior: 3rd AA, 4th BB, 4th FX
2000 Bluewater International, Junior: 8th AA, 2nd BB
2000 Elite Ontario, Junior: 2nd AA, 3rd V, 1st BB
2000 Canadian Championships, Junior: 2nd AA, 2nd UB, 2nd BB
2000 Elite Canada, Senior: 8th AA, 4th UB
2001 Gymnix International, Senior: 12th AA, 1st FX
2001 Spring Cup, Senior: 6th AA
2001 Elite Ontario: 3rd AA, 3rd UB, 3rd FX
2001 Friendship Classic
2001 Canadian Championships, Senior: 13th AA, 4th BB
2001 Elite Canada, Senior: 2nd AA, 1st BB, 3rd FX
2002 Vegas Cup: 1st AA, 1st V, 3rd UB, 1st BB
2002 Jurassic Classic: 2nd T, 7th AA, 5th UB, 4th BB
2002 Pacific Alliance, Senior: 4th T, 12th AA, 6th V
2002 Canadian Championships, Senior: 1st AA, 4th V, 8th UB, 3rd BB, 1st FX
2002 Commonwealth Games: 3rd Team, 4th BB
2003 Retro Boogie: 2nd AA, 2nd V, 1st UB, 4th BB, 6th FX
2003 Bluewater International, Senior: 10th AA (3 events), 4th BB
2003 Elite Canada, Senior: 10th AA, 6th FX
2004 Retro Boogie Invitational: 1st AA, 1st FX
2004 Jurassic Classic, Senior: 4th V, 2nd UB, 1st FX
2004 Twisters Invitational: 1st AA
2004 Canadian Championships, Senior: 7th AA
2004 Olympic Trials: 10th AA
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11 year-old Hicks
at the '97 Gymnix
Danielle Hicks, born March 29, 1986, could be considered a child prodigy of Canadian women's gymnastics. A very strong skill level for her age, not to mention enormous competitive success as a novice gymnast, certainly attracted the attention of Canadian gymnastics enthusiasts. Many pegged her as a future great from as young as age ten.
Hicks first served notice as a top up and comer by winning the 1996 Ontario Tour Selection meet as a novice in November of 1996. She was still only 10 years old at the time, and this competition was one of the first in Canada to use the 1997-2000 Code of Points. A few months later, she won the Elite Ontario novice title and followed that up with a second place finish at the national championships in Ottawa in the novice category. At the national championships, Hicks' Ontario team took home the gold. Hicks achieved these results with steady, consistent performances, clean lines and execution, not to mention top flight difficulty - for her age or otherwise - especially on her best event, the balance beam. On beam, she performed skills such as a round-off back handspring mount immediate wolf jump immediate Chen, a back handspring-layout-layout series, a sheep jump, and two back handsprings to a double twist dismount with the confidence of an international veteran.
Hicks receives an award from Rodionenko
for her fine performance at
the 2002 Commonwealth Games
As a result of her successful 1997 season, when the new Novice High Performance programme was developed for 1998, Hicks was clearly a favourite to do well. After a second place finish at the 1997 Elite Canada competition in December, where only the required skills routines were performed on both days of competition, she again won the Elite Ontario novice title in April of 1998. At the Canadian championships in Hamilton, Ontario, Hicks led the Ontario team to another title, and her strong all-around performance meant she would be a favourite to win the first ever novice High Performance national title. After the required skills competition was over, the scores were combined with the optional scores earned in the team competition, and Hicks easily won the all-around gold medal, her first at the national level.
Her status as the national champion in the newly established discipline meant Hicks would soon be in the running for international assignments. Before even competing at her first meet in the junior High Performance category, Hicks was named to the Canadian team for the 1998 Canberra Cup junior international in Australia. This competition took place just one week after 1998 Elite Canada, where Hicks finished a strong 8th place. In Australia, Hicks had trouble on her first event, the floor exercise, where she missed her first pass of 2 ˝ twist-punch front, but she rebounded and ended up qualifying for the event finals in her best event, the balance beam.
10th AA at 03 Elite Canada
Expectations remained high for this talented gymnast as the 1999 season approached. However, a combination of injuries, growth, and a gym change meant that Canadian fans did not get to see Hicks compete again until December of 1999, a full year since her last competition. Up to this point in her career, Hicks had been coached by July Gerschovic and 1980 Olympic champion Elena Davydova at the Gemini Gymnastics Club in Oshawa, Ontario. When Hicks finally returned to competition at Elite Canada at the end of 1999, she was representing her new club, Academy of Sport and Fitness, where she was coached by Paula Johnson. Hicks finished a very strong 3rd place at this competition, proving she was not to be forgotten.
Hicks competed regularly in the year 2000, starting with the Bluewater International, where she finished 8th in the all-around (she could have been higher, but had some problems on bars and floor) and 2nd on the balance beam in the event finals, where her consistency and confidence continued to shine. She went on to finish 2nd in the junior competition at the 2000 national championships in Montreal. This finish earned her a spot on Canada's junior team for the first ever Gymnastic Challenge competition, held in Mississauga in June. At this event, Hicks again performed very solidly on the balance beam, and helped her team place 9th in the team competition. Hicks herself finished 21st in the all-around.
Although Hicks continued to struggle somewhat with growth and injury since, including a shaky performance at the 2000 Elite Canada competition, which left her in 8th place at her first try at the senior level, she continued to show signs of excellence in 2001. At the 2001 Gymnix International, the first Canadian competition to use the new 2001 Code of Points, Hicks won the gold medal on the floor exerice, where her routine earned an impressive 9.7 start value. New tumbling of a 1 ˝ twist through to a 2 ˝ twist and a triple twist (not new, but much better mastered), combined with strong dance elements (cat leap double to cat leap 1 ˝, tuck jump double, triple twist, Gogean jump - tour jeté with additional full turn) contributed to this fine effort. The rest of the spring season would produce mixed results for Hicks. She finished third at Elite Ontario, earning the highest all-around score on the second day. A shaky performance on uneven bars at the national championships in Newfoundland left her in 13th place in the all-around, while her beam work earned her a trip to the apparatus finals where she finished 4th.
10th AA at the '04 Olympic Trials
Around this time, Hicks began experiencing burnout and frustration. The daily one hour commute to the Academy of Sport and Fitness, where she trained, was taking its toll. Hicks, along with her parents and ASF coaches, made the decision to return to the Gemini club, as it is closer to her home in Oshawa. At Gemini, she began training again under Davydova and Valery Yahchybekov, and when she re-emerged at the 2001 Elite Canada competition in December, she showed a new level of confidence, as well as several new skills, en route to a second place finish in the all-around. A fall off uneven bars, on a new combination of giant 1 1/2 to Jaeger, inevitably cost her the title. Nonetheless, her improvement on this apparatus, where she also showed a giant-full to Tkatchev, overshoot 1/2 to handstand immediate toe-on shoot to high bar, double front dismount, was evident. She qualified to event finals on two events where she took the gold on the balance beam (showing a confident layout step-out mount and an upgraded dismount of two ff's to 2 1/2 twist) and a bronze on floor exercise (new double pike dismount). During the all-around competition, she also successfully landed a new vault for her: an Ivantcheva (round-off onto the board, 1/2 twist to the horse, front tuck off).
Hicks has definitely established herself as a contender for the 2003 world championships and 2004 Olympic Games, yet she prefers to focus on short term goals for now. She currently has her sites set on the 2002 Pacific Alliance Championships and Commonwealth Games. Her solid balance beam work and continually improving routines on uneven bars and floor exercise, could also earn her a spot on the individual apparatus world team later this year.
Click HERE to read an interview with DanielleWritten by: Christopher Scott