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Julie Beaulieu

Julie's Competitive Results
For an interview with Julie Beaulieu, click here!
Julie charming her captive
audience at Olympic Trials

As a member of Canada's senior national team for three seasons (1998-2000), Julie Beaulieu made an international reputation for herself as a gymnast with a rare blend of difficulty, execution, style, and personality. A product of the famous Gymnix club in Montreal, Quebec, Beaulieu made the leap from relative obscurity on the Canadian national scene to world player, and along the way became a testament to the power of will and determination to overcome even the most daunting odds.

Despite obvious natural talents, Beaulieu's final years as a junior gymnast were plagued by one of the most common, but devastating, emotions experienced by gymnasts of all levels: fear. As the demands for increasingly difficult skills and combinations became more intense, Beaulieu became fearful of her exercises on the balance beam. Despite all attempts by her coaches and herself, Beaulieu's trepidation became so engrossing that she actually stopped training balance beam for a period lasting almost six months. This loss of training time obviously hampered her transition to the senior ranks, and it even caused Beaulieu to sit out the event in the 1997 Junior Pacific Alliance Championships, forcing the Canadian team into the unenviable position of having to compete an athlete short for one rotation. It might have seemed that Beaulieu's potential as a top international gymnast was going to be compromised by her fear of the balance beam.

Fortunately, Beaulieu's story is a happy one, and through great determination and courage she was able to conquer the balance beam and managed to develop a routine that was secure enough to place her 7th overall in her first senior national championships in 1998. She returned to national competition later that year, placing third at Elite Canada in December, and in the process beat all four athletes who had comprised the prestigious Commonwealth Games team earlier that summer.

Of her four exercises, Beaulieu's uneven bar routine was undoubtedly her best, for she managed to strike a fine balance between clean lines and remarkable difficulty. Included in her routine was a rare Markelov release (undergrip to half turn, straddle over the high bar) and a gorgeous double layout dismount that was technically sound that Beaulieu was known to occasionally throw a full-twist without having to sacrifice height or form.

After ending 1998 on such a high note, it would have been understandable if Beaulieu had come out flat to begin the 1999 season. In fact, it was the opposite that happened, and she had arguably the most successful year of any woman on the national team. Her competitive season began with the Gymnix International, the popular event hosted by her home club each spring. Beaulieu proved to the Canadian gymnastics community that her star was indeed on the rise when she won the all-around title, defeating a host of strong international athletes, including the Ukraine's Olga Roschupkina and Russia's Anastasia Kolesnikova, as well as her Canadian teammates. Beaulieu took her momentum into the national championships in Burnaby, British Columbia, and surprised her more experienced teammates, including defending champion, Katie Rowland, and 1996 Olympian, Yvonne Tousek, by taking the overall title.
pride and relief
of making the 2000 Olympic Team

With that sort of momentum, it surprised no one when Beaulieu was selected to the 1999 world championship team, where Canada's best female gymnasts succeeded in qualifying a full squad to the 2000 Olympic Games by placing 10th as a team. While an ankle injury prevented Beaulieu from competing all events, she did all she could for the team, counting both of her scores towards the final total.

If 1999 had established Beaulieu as a new face on the Canadian front, it was in the year 2000 that she became one of the cornerstones of the national program. Her season began with another smash success when she was again victorious at the Gymnix International, this time over a host of past and future Olympians. Beaulieu carried her momentum forward into two major internationals, both on the same side of the world as the fast-approaching Olympic Games. Unfortunately, a wrist injury prevented her from actually competing in the Qantas International, the Olympic test event held in the Sydney's SuperDome. Beaulieu recovered enough to take the competition floor at the hotly-contested Pacific Alliance Championships in New Zealand later that spring. Though the Canadian team finished poorly due to a rash of injuries and inconsistencies, Beaulieu shone with a 7th place all-around finish, and a silver medal on the balance beam. The latter was sweet confirmation of her rebirth on the apparatus, and helped solidify her position as an all-around contributor for the team in Sydney.

The 2000 Olympic Trials were the culmination of Beaulieu's career, and she certainly rose to the occasion. With only a beam fall marring her two-day performance, Beaulieu earned automatic selection to the team by finishing second overall (only the top two gymnasts earned automatic selection). Her consistent performances over the years also convinced the Canadian coaches to compete Beaulieu as one of Canada's all-arounders in Sydney. Unfortunately, uncharacteristic errors in her well-choreographed floor routine (two falls) prevented Beaulieu from joining teammates Kate Richardson and Yvonne Tousek among the top 36 individually, despite puting forth some of her best routines ever on vault (Hristakieva), the uneven bars, and, of course, the balance beam (ff layout ff, punch front, gainer double twist dismount).

Known for her vivacious personality, Beaulieu has elected to commit her talent and energy to endeavours outside of the world of gymnastics now that her Olympic dream has been fulfilled. Specifically, her interests have turned to diving, where she is achieving remarkable success after only a few months of training. With her solid gymnastic background, hearty work ethic, and competitive composure from years of international experience, Julie Beaulieu is now a talent looming on the horizon of a second sport, which is certainly a thrill for her many fans who hope to hear more from this popular young woman in the years to come.


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