|Ashley's Competitive Results|
1998 Ontario Provincial Championships, Junior 3: 2nd AA
1998 Elite Canada, Senior: 21st AA
1999 Bluewater International, Senior: 14th AA
1999 Canadian Championships, Senior: 11th AA
1999 Elite Canada, Senior: 4th AA
2000 Elite Canada, Senior: 1st AA, 1st V, 1st UB, 2nd BB
2001 Canada vs. France: 1st Team, 3rd AA|
2001 Canadian Championships, Senior: 2nd AA, 6th V, 5th UB, 2nd BB
2001 NED-CAN-CZE-GER: 3rd T, 12th AA
2001 World Championship Trials: 2nd AA
2001 World Championships: 10th T, 32nd AA
2002 Canadian Championships: 12th AA, 1st BB
2002 World Championships: 17th V, 29th UB, 27 BB, 13th FX
2003 Achtlandentoernooi (8-country meet): 6th T
2003 Canadian Championships: 6th AA, 3rd V, 2nd UB, 3rd FX
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Ashley Peckett, coached by Alex Bard, Craig Smith, and Svetlana Degteva at Gymnastics Mississauga, surprised many in the Canadian gymnastics community when she won the 2000 Elite Canada all-around title. This victory came at the end of a season riddled with injury and tragedy for Peckett, born May 23, 1984, who not only had to endure the disappointment of not having the opportunity to try out for the Olympic team due to injury, but also the death of her primary personal coach Irina Ivleva. Ivleva was killed in an automobile accident in February 2000, while driving to a provincial qualifying meet while her club's national athletes were competing at the Parkette Invitational in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
'02 World Trials
Peckett entered the senior national scene with a 21st place finish at the 1998 Elite Canada competition. This result might not seem that impressive, but Peckett had just done something almost unheard of in Canadian gymnastics: she went from the provincial stream (where she finished 2nd at the Provincial Championships in 1998 as a junior 3) straight to the Senior High Performance stream in the same year!
Peckett's first taste of international competition came at the 1999 Bluewater International, where she made floor finals in a strong international field. Tumbling passes of double pike and 2 ½ twist to punch front, as well as a well choreographed routine to the music from the film "The Saint", contributed to this fine effort. Peckett went on to finish 4th all-around (tying for first on bars) at the Elite Ontario competition and 11th at the Canadian championships.
'02 World Trials
Peckett was not selected to try for a spot on the 1999 Pan American or world championship teams, but it was obvious that she was rapidly on the rise. She proved her status at the 1999 Elite Canada competition in Montreal by finishing a strong 4th AA and showing new skills on every event: handspring piked front on vault; a Tkatchev on bars; ff-ff-double tuck off beam; and a whip-2 ½-punch front on floor.
Her late 1999 rise meant that Peckett was a legitimate contender for at least a possible alternate spot on the 2000 Olympic team, but an unfortunate set of circumstances dictated otherwise. Seemingly undaunted, Peckett bounced back from her disappointments with wins at the Ontario Tour Selection/Elite Canada qualifier and Elite Canada. She continued to show new skills, including a whip-double pike and triple twist on floor and a Hristakieva on vault.
Peckett's new status as the Elite Canada champion meant international team assignments would be in her near future. She had her first taste of representing her country in team competition at the Jurassic Classic in March 2001 in Calgary, Alberta. There she helped her team defeat the French in a dual meet and herself earned the third highest score in the all-around. Peckett further solidified her position with a second place all-around finish at the Canadian championships in St. John, New Brunswick, which earned her a chance to try out for the world championship team.
AA finals at the
courtesy Heather Maynez
At the Canadian world championship control test in August in Hamilton, Peckett's second place all-around finish guaranteed herself a position on the team. Here she showed many new skills, inculding a Yurchenko 1 1/2 on vault, and a full-in, two whips through to double pike, and front through to 2 1/2 twist punch front on floor. Other top skills displayed by Peckett during the world championship preparations included a giant-full to Tkatchev, free hip 1/2 to overshoot 1/2 handstand, and double layout on uneven bars; and a piked front mount, a punch front to back tuck combo, and two back handsprings to a double tuck dismount on the balance beam.
En route to the world championships, Peckett and her teammates competed in a quad meet between Canada, the Netherlands, Germany, and the Czech Republic in Nijmegen, the Netherlands. Though she fell on her Yurchenko 1 1/2 attempt, as well as her mount on the balance beam, she hit her other events well, including a stellar bar routine that earned the highest Canadian team score on that apparatus.
At the world championships in Ghent, Belgium, Peckett was selected to perform on all four events for the Canadian team. She performed exceptionally well on three events - including the vault, where her Yurchenko 1 1/2 was one of the highest Canadian start values (9.7) on any event. Although she struggled somewhat on the balance beam, the rest of her events were strong enough to earn her a coveted spot in the all-around finals - an excellent accomplishment for Peckett, who after all was in her first year of competing internationally for the Canadian team. She finished 32nd in the all-around finals (after mistakes on vault and beam), but gained much confidence in the process from competing side by side with some of the best gymnasts in the world.
The competitive experience earned by Peckett in 2001 - and her ability to land a big vault - will undoubtedly make her a strong contender for team berths in 2002 and beyond.
Written by: Christopher Scott