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Lydia Williams

Lydia's Competitive Results
1999 Ontario Tour Selection: 14th AA
1999 Elite Canada, Junior: 5th AA
2000 Elite Ontario, Junior: 6th AA
2000 Canadian Championships, Junior: 8th AA
2000 Gymnastic Challenge: 8th Team, 26th AA
2001 Gymnix International, Junior: 2nd AA
2001 Spring Cup, Junior: 4th AA
2001 Elite Ontario, Junior: 4th AA
2001 Canadian Championships, Junior: 5th AA, 1st UB, 2nd BB, 3rd FX
2001 Ontario Tour Selection, Senior: 2nd AA
2001 Elite Canada, Senior: 3rd AA, 2nd UB, 2nd FX
2002 Las Vegas Cup: 2nd AA, 1st BB, 1st FX
2002 Jurassic Classic: 2nd T, 6th AA, 5th V
2002 Gymnix International: 6th AA
2002 Canadian Championships: 14th AA, 2nd V, 7th UB
2002 Junior Pan Am Games: 2nd T, 7th AA, 5th UB
2002 Elite Canada, Senior: 11th AA, 2nd UB
2003 Pacific Challenge (USA vs AUS vs CAN): 3rd T, 21st AA
2003 Gymnix International, Senior: 1st AA, 5th V, 1st UB, 4th BB, 3rd FX
2003 Romanian International: 8th AA, 7th UB, 7th BB
2003 Achtlandentoernoo1 (8-country meet): 6th T, 8th AA, 6th BB
2003 Canadian Championships, Senior: 4th AA, 5th V, 5th BB, 4th FX
2003 Pan Am/World team trials: 3rd AA
2003 Pan Am Games: 2nd T, 6th AA, 6th UB, 8th BB
2003 World Championships: 11th T
2003 Elite Canada: 5th AA, 2nd UB, 3rd BB
2004 Retro Boogie Invitational: 1st BB
2004 Olympic Test Event: 6th T
2004 Pacific Alliance Championships (injured, did not compete)
5th AA @ 03 Elite Canada

Lydia Williams is coached by Carol-Angela Orchard and Lawson Hamer at the Sport Seneca Club in North York, Ontario. Her club has produced many world championship and Olympic team members over the years, and Williams is primed to follow in their footsteps. Following a 5th place finish at 1999 Elite Canada in Montreal, her first attempt at the junior High Performance level, Williams went on to finish 8th all-around at the 2000 national championships. As a result of her finish at nationals, Williams was selected to compete at the 2000 Gymnastic Challenge in Mississauga, representing Team Ontario. Her team finished 2nd in the Open competition and 8th in the Premier competition and individually, Williams finished 11th all-around in the Open competition and 26th in the Premier competition.

Williams is perhaps best known for her strong swing mechanics on bars, where she shows a nice giant-full Tkatchev combination, an overshoot ½ turn to handstand, and a double front dismount. On beam, she continues the team Seneca tradition with a three flairs mount, a double turn, an illusion full without hands, and other difficult skills including a side somi, a switch leap to tuck jump full, and a switch leap 1/2 turn. On floor she has shown a variety of tumbling skills, although not necessarily in the same routine, which includes a double pike, 2 ½ twist, 1 ½ twist to punch barani, 1 ½ twist to piked front, and front-full punch front. She performs all of her routines with strong lines and original choreography.

An injury to her arm prevented her from competing at 2000 Elite Canada in Winnipeg. However, she showed she was not to be forgotten amoung the junior contenders in Canada in 2001 by winning the physical abilities portion of the event. She celebrated her 14th birthday by finishing second in the all-around at the 2001 Gymnix International in the junior division, where she qualified for finals on bars and beam, winning the latter. In May, she finished 5th in the all-around at the national championships and in the event finals, took first on uneven bars.

03 Model Training
prior to Pan Ams/Worlds

In December of 2001, Williams made her first transition to the senior High Performance programme with a solid third place all-around finish at Elite Canada. She thrilled the audience at her home club with her strong performances, which included event finals berths on the uneven bars and floor exericse. On the vault, which was previously her weakest event, she switched to the Yurchenko entry, showing determination at being equally strong on all four events in the future.

Williams' Elite Canada result makes her the highest ranked first year Canadian senior. Although she is not age eligible for the 2002 individual world championships, Williams is a strong contender for positions at the Pacific Alliance Championships and Commonwealth Games.

2002 Update: Williams began the year 2002 with a strong performance at the Gymnix International in Montreal, finishing 6th all-around, making her the top Canadian senior. Here she debuted some new skills, including the highly valued piked Luconi vault and a double twisting front on floor. Immediately following this competition, Williams traveled with the Canadian team to Calgary for a dual meet with a very strong USA squad at the Jurassic Classic. An impressive showing there (she finished second among the Canadians) combined with her results at Gymnix earned her a spot on the junior team for the Pacific Alliance Championships in May in Vancouver. An unfortunate mishap on vault (she landed dangerously short on her Luconi and took a zero) and a fall on bars hindered both her AA standings at the team overall score, but still she gained valuable international experience to draw on. Falls on beam and floor (where she tried a new Arabian double front opening pass) dropped her down in the standings at the Canadian Championships in Winnipeg, though she managed to qualify for event finals in the other two events, vault and uneven bars, successfully adding a piked Jaeger release move on the latter.

3rd on BB @ 03 Elite Canada

More international experience would come Williams’ way towards the end of 2002. A four member junior team traveled to Houston, Texas, for a dual meet with the American women’s team as a tune-up for the Junior Pan American Championships in Santo Domingo, DR. In Houston, Williams shone on the balance beam – not only leading her Canadian teammates, but outscoring all of the Americans as well. Following this meet, Williams helped the Canadians to a second place finish at Junior Pan Ams, where she herself ended up 7th in the all-around and 5th in the uneven bars finals. Williams ended her 2002 competitive season with an 11th place ranking at Elite Canada. Despite earning the highest uneven bars score in the meet, falls on beam and floor dropped her down.

2003 Update: The year 2003 would give Williams even more international experience, and she took advantage of every opportunity to impress the national coach with her performances. First up for Williams was a trip to California for a team meet against the United States and Australia, in a competition known as the Pacific Challenge. Williams earned the highest Canadian score of the meet on balance beam and also earned great cheers from the audience for her impressive and rarely performed Tkatchev-Zucchold combination. She followed this up with another good showing at the Romanian International, earning event finals berths on the uneven bars and balance beam. In perhaps her most impressive international competition to date at the 8-country tournament in the Netherlands, Williams outscored all of her Canadian team mates in the all-around, and qualified for event finals on the balance beam with her excellent 9.3+ score. At this meet she also debuted her Comaneci release move on the uneven bars and left a very favourable impression on the audience, judges, and fans alike. Mistakes on bars dropped her to 4th all-around at the Canadian Championships in Saskatoon, but she nonetheless qualified for the Pan American Games/World Championship trials to be held later that summer at her home gym of Sport Seneca.

At those trials, Williams modified her bar routine slightly, adding a stalder-full on the low bar and taking out her Comaneci and Zucchold – giving her more stability and confidence with her set. She came back from a fall from beam on day one to tie for the highest all-around score on day two to finish third over-all. Williams was named to the Pan Am and World teams, and at the Pan Am Games in Santo Domingo, DR, she led the team to a silver medal after earning the highest all-around score for Canada during the team competition. Due to an illness to team mate and Canadian all-around champion Gael Mackie, Williams was called upon at the last minute to compete on floor exercise – an event she was not originally scheduled to compete under the 6-5-4 team format, making her all-around result even more impressive.

4th AA @ 01 Spring Cup

As the team moved on to the World Championships in Anaheim, California, illness and fatigue from having just competed at the Pan Am Games took their toll on the team. Showing excellent grit and a fighting spirit, Williams and her teammates hung on to an 11th place team ranking to secure full team participation at next year’s Athens Olympics. Williams hit two solid routines on the uneven bars and floor exercise, but ironically it was her two fall beam set (that sill scored above an 8.0 – despite her mistakes the judges were obviously impressed by her otherwise clean execution and stylistic work) that contributed most to the team score.

A highlight for Williams at these World Championships may have been a reunion she shared with some former teammates. A native of Pretoria, South Africa (she moved to Canada in 1997), Williams was able to visit with former teammates who were representing South Africa at the World Championships.

Williams journey from the team trials through the Pan American Games and World Championships were featured recently on the Sports Axxess programme on the cable network The Score, where coach Carol-Angela Orchard offered high praise to the her star pupil, saying “I’ve never had an athlete – and I’ve been coaching at this level for 25 years now - with that type of work ethic.”

With a full Olympic team berth secured, Williams will continue to work towards her ultimate goal next year.

Written by: Christopher Scott
Updated by Staff 2004.01.18

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