|Medeiros at 03 Elite Canada|
Julie Medeiros, born July 11, 1986, has now established herself as a Canadian gymnast to watch out for. Still young, she entered 2001 as a first year senior competitor. While overcoming some injuries, as well as a club change (previously training at the Omega Gymnastics Centre, she is now training under Flaviu Toma, Nancy Beyers, and Celestina Popa at the Flicka Gymnastics Club, home of Olympian Lise Leveille), Medeiros missed several competitions in 2001, but hopes to be back at full strength in the coming season.
In 1997, Medeiros entered her first national championships as a novice competitor. Troubles on the uneven bars kept Medeiros from showing her full potential, however, and she placed 17th all-around.
The year 1998 proved to be a difficult one for Medeiros. She entered her second national championships as a novice competitor, once again. In the preliminary competition, she placed as high as 14th on the floor exercise in a field of almost 60 athletes, but she had some problems with her uneven bars routine that dropped her to 25th all-around. She continued to struggle through the finals, scoring a 6.9 on bars for a 34th place finish.
Medeiros bounced back, however, in 1999. After a 15th place as a national novice at the Canadian championships in Burnaby, BC - her best finish yet - she made the jump to the High Performance stream. Competing at the Elite Canada competition in Montreal, she climbed all the way to 6th place all-around in the junior women's competition.
In the year 2000, Medeiros amazed gymnastics fans in Canada with her performances, while international fans also took notice of her abilities. Starting out the year at her first international meet, the popular Bluewater International, not only did Medeiros finish as the top Canadian in the junior category (4th AA), she also competed in the vault, uneven bars and balance beam finals the next day. The beam final proved to be an exclamation mark for this new star, as she scored a 9.150 and took home her first international medal for Canada - a bronze.
After her fantastic performance at the Bluewater International, Medeiros entered the Canadian championships in 2000 as a favourite in the junior competition, and she delivered. Rebounding from 6th in the prelims, she had a career high 36.325 points to tie with would-be winner Heather Purnell, on day two. As a testament to her clean lines and tight execution, Medeiros was able to equal Purnell's score with 0.8 less in start values over the day. After averaging the scores of both days, Medeiros' total was good enough for the bronze medal in the all-around. A 9.325 average on vault (beautiful handspring front piked and good tucked Phelps) was good enough for 2nd position on this event. On her best event, the balance beam (piked front mount-beat jump; ff-layout step out; switch leg leap-switch side leap; tucked jump-punch front tucked-split jump), she managed an impressive 9.2 average score.
Now a threat on all four apparatus, one of Medeiros' greatest improvements has come on the uneven bars, where in 2000 she showed two healys in succession and an impeccable double arabian dismount. On floor, she danced to music from the Austin Powers soundtrack and showed interesting choreography for her young age (double pike mount; ring leap-switch Shushunova; front tuck through to double twist; jump wolf full to one foot landing to immediate double turn; double tuck dismount).
Medeiros' 2001 season began with frustration. Broken bones in her foot meant the first-year senior would have to sit out the B.C. championships, and threatened her status for the important meets in the spring. Fortunately, she was able to recover enough to compete by May's national championships, which were even more successful for Medeiros. Finishing 8th in the senior all-around, she was one of four athletes in the top ten who would not be eligible for senior FIG competition until 2002. Her solid performance also qualified Medeiros for three event finals - vault, bars and beam. Saving her best performance for last, she finished 3rd on the beam behind two 2001 world championships team members.
Medeiros' performance at the national championships earned her the right to compete at the Junior Pan American Championships in Cancun, Mexico, where she teamed with Heather Purnell, Kylie Stone and Tracey Rai for 7th place in the team competition. After missing December's Elite Canada due to injury, Medeiros successfully petitioned to the senior High Performance team, and will be looking to return to top form in 2002.