2004 Canadian Artistic Gymnastics Championships
Mississauga is the host city of the 2004 Canadian Artistic Gymnastics Championships. Competition takes place June 2-5, at the Hershey Centre. Over 340 gymnasts are expected to
Canada's top male gymnasts will move on to Calgary after these National Championships, and vie for the six Olympic sports. Trials take place
July 7 at the Calgary Gymnastics Center and July 10 at the University of Calgary. That same weekend, Canada's best female gymnasts will battle for spots on the women's team. Sport Seneca, site of the 2000 Olympic Trials, will once again play host to this important battle.
JUNE 7 - SRC TO AIR 2004 CANADIAN ARTISTIC CHAMPIONSHIPS
SRC is scheduled to air the 2004 Canadian Artistic Championships Saturday
June 8. The broadcast, which is expected to feature the all-around competition,
is scheduled to air at 4pm. Please check your local listings as the date
approaches. SRC is the French CBC.
JUNE 7 - PHOTOS FROM WOMEN'S OPEN AND SENIOR ALL-AROUND ADDED
Select photos from the women's
open have been added. Also, a second page has been added to the senior
women's all-around gallery.
JUNE 6 - VIDEOS FROM EVENT FINALS
Now available, select videos from the
JUNE 6 - GCG NAMES OLYMPIC TRIALS COMPETITORS
With the 2004 Canadian Artistic Championships coming to a close, Gymnastics
Canada Gymnastique names the athletes who have been invited to the upcoming
Olympic trials. For the men, trials take place July 7 at Calgary Gymnastics
Centere and July 10 at the University of Calgary. That same weekend, Canada's best female gymnasts will battle for spots on the women's team. Sport Seneca, site of the 2000 Olympic Trials, will once again play host to this important battle.
Men's Olympic Trials competitors:
David Kikuchi, Halifax Alta Gym Club
Grant Golding, University of Calgary
Nathan Gafuik, University of Calgary
Kyle Shewfelt, Altadore Gymnastics Club
Alexander Jeltkov, Centre National Montreal
Casey Sandy, Burlington BG's
Adam Wong, Calgary Gymnastics Centre
Brandon O’Neill, Capital city Gym Club
Ken Ikeda, Twisters Gym Club
Richard Ikeda, Twisters Gym Club
Women's Olympic Trials competitors:
Kylie Stone, Stampede City Gymnastics Club
Melanie Banville, Ottawa Gymnastics Centre
Heather Purnell, Ottawa Gymnastics Centre
Amelie Plante, Gymnix
Laura-Ann Chong, Abbotsford Twisters
Kate Richardson, Abbotsford Twisters/UCLA
Marci Bernholtz, ASF
Danielle Hicks, ASF
Jennifer Simbhudas, Winstonettes
Gael Mackie, Omega
JUNE 5 - LAST HALF OF EVENT TITLES AWARDED
Following CBC's live coverage, the remaining half of the event titles were
contested and awarded. On the women's side, Melanie Banville won both
bars and balance beam. For the men, David Kikuchi won both pommel horse
and rings, with Casey Sandy earning top honours on vault and Brandon
O'Neill capturing the parallel bars title. Full results are available at Gym
JUNE 5 - STINSON GOLDEN ON HIGH BAR
With Canadian high bar specialist Alexander Jeltkov failing to make
the high bar finals (he's been nursing a problematic ankle for several months),
the field for today's high bar finals was wide open. First alternate Rhett Stinson earned a chance to compete in today's
final, when David Kikuchi pulled out with a sore shoulder. Stinson seized
the opportunity, his routine punctuated with a stuck dismount. Stinson was rewarded with a 9.450, for the gold
medal. The rest of today's high bar finalists all struggled, with Casey Sandy
taking silver (8.750 - omitted major release move) and Brandon O'Neill
bronze (8.300 - fall on release).
1. Rhett Stinson (9.450)
2. Casey Sandy (8.750)
3. Brandon O'Neill (8.300)
4. Grant Golding (8.275)
5. Devon Sidwell (7.850)
6. Matt Beiler (7.200)
JUNE 5 - STONE WINS THIRD GOLD MEDAL, WITH HUGE 9.500 ON FLOOR
Newly crowned all-around champion Kylie Stone (Stampede City) wins her
second third gold medal, placing first on the floor exercise. Heather Purnell
(Ottawa Gym Club) placed second. Marci Bernholtz (ASF), first
alternate to today's floor finals, earned a chance to compete with Kate
Richardson's withdrawal. Bernholtz seized the opportunity, medalling in
1. Kylie Stone (9.500)
2. Heather Purnell (9.450)
3. Marci Bernholtz (9.325)
4. Melanie Banville (9.025)
5. Brittnee Habbib (8.875)
6. Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs (8.850)
7. Amelie Plante (8.825)
8. Tracey Rai (8.700)
JUNE 5 - ALBERTANS DOMINATE MEN'S FLOOR FINAL
Floor sensation Brandon O'Neill (Capital City) retains his floor title,
throwing the only routine in the final with a full 10.0 start value. Adam
Wong (CGC) captures silver, and Grant Golding (a native of B.C., now
training out of the U of C) wins bronze.
1. Brandon O'Neill (9.625)
2. Adam Wong (9.175)
3. Grant Golding (9.025)
4. Nathan Gafuik (8.950)
5. Sean Lord (8.550)
6. Jared Wells (7.725)
Calgarians Adam Wong and Nathan Gafuik received crowd
applause, putting on Calgary Flames hats after walking off the floor. (The
Calgary Flames host the Tampa Bay Lightning today in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup
JUNE 5 - RICHARDSON WITHDRAWS FROM FLOOR FINALS
Kate Richardson (Abbotsford Twisters/UCLA) qualified to today's floor finals, but has withdrawn from the
competition due to heel bruising suffered during yesterday's all-around competition. "I
just tweaked it a little bit on one of my tumbling passes on floor,"
Richardson explained to CBC. "I've got to play it safe and stay healthy for later.
This meet is just a stepping stone [to Athens."
JUNE 5 - STONE RETAINS BEAM TITLE
Kylie Stone (Stampede City) today won the balance beam final. She won
the same title at last year's Championships, held in Saskatoon, SK.
1. Kylie Stone
2. Melanie Banville
3. Julie Madeiros
4. Tracey Rai
5. Heather Purnell
6. Laura-Ann Chong
7. Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs
8. Ellen McCarthy
JUNE 5 - PHOTOS FROM SENIOR WOMEN'S ALL-AROUND
Select photos from yesterday's junior
women's all-around have been added. More to follow this weekend.
JUNE 5 - MORE VIDEOS FROM WOMEN'S ALL-AROUND
Additional videos from yesterday's
senior women's all-around have been added:
- Kylie Stone: UB, BB, FX
- Amelie Plante: UB
- Heather Purnell: BB
- Melanie Banville: V
JUNE 5 - REACTIONS TO SENIOR WOMEN'S AND MEN'S ALL-AROUND COMPETITION
Select quotes from yesterday's senior women's
and men's all-around participants, and their coaches, have been added.
JUNE 4 - GOLDING DEFEATS KIKUCHI FOR ALL-AROUND CROWN
|Grant Golding at the |
2003 world championships
Photo courtesy Grace Chiu
Calgary's Grant Golding surpassed first day leader David Kikuchi to earn his first national title at the Canadian championships earlier today. Golding, 23, earned the victory by posting six solid routines, punctuated by an improved effort on high bar, his final event, to earn a 110.020 total.
"I'm having fun, and that's all that I can ask for," said Golding, in between receiving congratulations from coaches and athletes all around. "After the first day, I knew it would be tight between [runner-up David Kikuchi] and me, and that any little mistake could cost us."
For Kikuchi, his second-place finish was one higher than his 2003 result. "I had a little trouble on floor, but overall most of my scores were higher [than day one]," Kikuchi said. His strogest performances came, once again, on pommel horse (nice scissors), parallel bars (peach-full to peach-half), and rings (excellent position on his planche), bringing his two-day total to 109.670.
Finishing third was Burlington's Casey Sandy, the alternate for the 2003 world championship team, with 108.420. Sandy vaulted a Yurchenko with 2 1/2 twists, and also earned an impressive 9.450 on pommel horse to keep him ahead of Adam Wong, who finished fourth with 108.100.
JUNE 4 - VIDEOS FROM WOMEN'S ALL-AROUND
Now available, videos of the much-anticipated return to competition by Kate Richardson, who
is back in elite competition for the first time in two years. More videos will
be added tomorrow.
JUNE 4 - KYLIE STONE WINS SENIOR WOMEN'S ALL-AROUND WITH A 36.5
Kylie Stone solidified her ranking as Canada's top female gymnast with a victory in the women's all-around at the Canadian championships today. Stone, who finished 14th all-around at last year's world championships, hit four stable routines to take the title over Ottawa's Heather Purnell, 36.500 to 36.175. Stone's best effort came on the balance beam, where she scored a 9.300, the top score of the day on that apparatus. At last year's national championships, Stone finished third all-around.
"I didn't really expect [to win]. I knew I could come top three, but I didn't expect to win," Stone told Gymn.ca. "Overall, I'm really pleased. I don't think it's sunk in yet."
Purnell, who is the reigning Elite Canada champion, also had a solid performance, though she did not perform her full difficulty on floor exercise (no whipbacks to her double pike last line). Purnell's top score was a 9.200 for her 1 1/2-twisting Yurchenko vault.
After the meet, Purnell reflected on her performance. "It was all hit, but I wasn't as steady as I could be," she said, adding, "I have a few things to fix before trials, like my last line on floor, and opening up my [layout Luconi second] vault more."
Finishing third with an even 36.000 score was Gymnix's Amelie Plante. Plante was the only athlete in the top three to suffer a major break (fall from balance beam), which ultimately cost her title, but she also took the day's top bars score (Def, Gienger, double layout, 9.475).
"I'm really happy," Plante said after the meet. "I didn't expect that [to finish third], because at the beginning, I wasn't sure if I was going to do all four events," because of a chronic leg injury. "I did less skills [than I was capable of], but I think it was an intelligent choice by us to take them out."
Melanie Banville took a major break on vault (ran through on her first attempt, then missed her hand slightly and fell on her Yurchenko with 1 1/2 twists) to finish fourth, after placing second a year ago.
"Everything was good today, except that first vault, where I missed my hands," the 17 year-old said. "This was the first time that I did four passes [on floor], which Andrei [Canadian national team coach Rodionenko] really wanted, so that was good."
Perhaps the biggest story of the night was the much-anticipated return to competition by Kate Richardson, who was back in elite competition for the first time in two years. Richardson, who just completed her sophomore year at UCLA, received double-duty coaching from UCLA coach Valorie Kondos, as well as Richardson's Abbotsford Twisters coach, David Kenwright.
Starting on her best event, beam, Richardson surprised even herself by falling on a leap sequence (8.500), but came back well on floor to take the top score of the day on that event (9.400). Richardson's unique routine, which was created by Kondos, earned the Sherry Hawco award for outstanding choreography.
Richardson, who flashed an ever-present smile during the competition, said she enjoyed the experience. "It was fun!" the 2000 Olympian exclaimed after the competition. "It was really exciting to be back."
About her performances leading up to the Olympic trials, Richardson noted, "There's a long way to go. I made some mistakes today, and I wasn't fully prepared on all events." In particular, Richardson noted that she hopes to add more difficulty to her uneven bar routine, which currently only starts from a 9.4. She also intends to add a half twist to her Omelianchik vault.
1. Kylie Stone * Gael Mackie planned to compete only bars and beam, due to
lingering leg injuries. On her first event, Mackie pinged before her piked
Jaeger and landed on her head. She was taken to the hospital, but is expected to
be fine. She will compete at Olympic Trials.
2. Heather Purnell
3. Amelie Plante
4. Melanie Banville
5. Kate Richardson
6. Elyse Hopfner Hibbs
7. Danielle Hicks
8. Jennifer Simbhudas
9. Marci Bernholtz
10. Brittnee Habbib
10. Laura-Ann Chong
12. Tracey Rai
13. Ellen McCarthy
14. Julie Medeiros
15. Cindy Pierre
16. Melanie Tham
17. Fanny Girard
18. Jenna Kerbis
19. Siloe Chicoine
20. Melissa Hough
21. Joanna Leung
21. Amanda Gering
23. Monica Nolet
24. Meaghan Koshman (2 events)
25. Katherine Fairhurst (1 event)
26. Gael Mackie*
JUNE 4 - PHOTOS FROM JUNIOR WOMEN'S ALL-AROUND
Select photos from yesterday's junior
women's all-around have been added.
JUNE 4 - SENECA CLUB "DEVASTATED" WITH LOSS OF THREE ATHLETES
|Lydia Williams at the |
2003 world championships
Photo courtesy Grace Chiu
Sport Seneca, one of Canada's premiere women's gymnastics clubs, is "devastated" with the loss of three of their top athletes over the past several months, including two in the past week.
First, double Commonwealth Games medallist Vanessa Meloche injured her ACL several months ago, which ended an Olympic quest that had been riddled by injuries. Then, world championship team member Lydia Williams went down with a back injury that has also taken her out of contention for the Olympic Games. Finally, top junior competitor Aimie Balderian decided last week to take a break from gymnastics, and as a result is not training with the club, and will not be competing at this week's national championships.
"I should be winning an Academy Award," coach Carol-Angela Orchard said when asked how she and her coaching staff could remain focused after so much bad luck. "We're completely devastated."
Meloche, who has had the most time to deal with her injury, is already moving on. The outgoing 18 year-old uneven bars specialist will head to Nebraska this fall for a full scholarship. She has also been coaching in the gym, where Orchard notes she has a special gift. "She just has a way of putting things that is so great," Orchard said, adding, "I've told her that when she's done with college she should come back and give me a call. I would send my daughter to her [as a coach]."
Balderian's decision to leave the sport is for personal reasons, but coach Orchard is hopeful she will return once she has had some time to reflect. "She had a tough time at training camp recently," Orchard noted, "But she's a great kid, and we need athletes like her to give us depth in Canada. She feels [she may not be able to contend at the national level], but I've told her 'you never know.'"
For Orchard, the most devastating of them all, however, was the recent injury to Williams. At this point, the 17 year-old has been fitted for a back brace that she will have to wear 24 hours a day, and that can only be removed for showering. Williams will have to wear the brace for eight to ten weeks, but is expected to fully recover from the fracture. According to Orchard, Williams already has her sights set on the 2005 world championships, where she hopes to compete on the uneven bars and balance beam, as well as a U.S. scholarship after next year.
"Lydia is already making plans for next year," her coach pointed out. "She's already telling me which skills she wants to learn when she's out of the brace, and what kind of routines she wants to put together. She's conditiong her brains out right now."
Despite Williams' positive spin on the injury, Orchard admitted that everyone is hurting from the loss. "Lydia is just so well respected in our program, both for her work ethic and just because she's a really, really nice kid. It's like the club is in mourning right now."
JUNE 4 - REACTIONS TO JUNIOR WOMEN'S ALL-AROUND
Select quotes from yesterday's junior
women's all-around participants, and their coaches, have been added.
JUNE 4 - VIDEOS OF JUNIOR WOMEN'S ALL-AROUND AVAILABLE
Select videos from yesterday's junior
women's all-around have been added to the four videos of Aisha Gerber, posted
JUNE 3 - GERBER TAKES JUNIOR TITLE
|Gerber wins the title |
Photo by Leslie Foster, Gymn.ca
Cambridge's Aisha Gerber won her first national junior title at the Canadian championships with a balanced performance on all four apparatus today. Gerber, 13 (she will turn 14 on June 21), was buoyed by a 9.775 score on beam (see routine description in the reports
section) to take the title over Gemini's Kelsey Hope. Finishing third was Gymnastics Mississauga's Alyssa Brown, who confirmed that her breakthrough silver-medal performance at Elite Canada was no fluke.
For Gerber, winning the junior national title added another accolade to her ever-growing collection. Gerber has previously won the national novice crown, as well as two junior Elite Canada titles.
After the competition, Gerber said she was pleased with her performance. "I was pretty happy with everything," she told Gymn.ca. "This was probably one of my best [performances] this year."
Coach Elvira Saadi agreed, but noted that they decided to remove some of Gerber's most difficult elements, including her arabian double front on floor, Hindorff on bars, and triple twist dismount from beam. "She is very young, and we must pace her," Saadi said. "There is no need [to perform full difficulty] at this time."
For bronze medallist Brown, the competition was satisfying, especially since she had been training through a back strain that she suffered just weeks before nationals. As a result of the injury, the five-time medallist from last year's Elite Canada had to water down some events, including taking out the 1 1/2-twisting Yurchenko that she had performed at two level 10 meets in the United States earlier this year. While the injury is expected to heal on its own once the 15 year-old has some time to rest, Brown's coaches noted that she was only competing at about 80% of her capacity.
As for her own take on the competition, Brown was pleased. "I felt pretty good about it. I really wanted to hit all four events, but three is pretty good."
A detailed report of the junior women's competition is available in the reports
section, and videos of newly crowned junior all-around champion are
available in the video section.
JUNE 2 - IKEDA BROTHERS SUFFER DOUBLE SETBACK
|Richard Ikeda at the |
2003 world championships
Photo courtesy Grace Chiu
Four-time Canadian champion Richard Ikeda dislocated his right shoulder during training last Tuesday, putting his quest to represent Canada in his second Olympic Games in jeopardy. Ikeda, 29, suffered the injury while reaching back to begin a twisting pass. "It just popped out," he told Gymn.ca while on hand to watch the championships from the sidelines.
MRI tests indicate there is no tear to the shoulder, and doctors have cleared Ikeda to return to training once he is physically able. At this point, his days are limited to conditioning, as well as rehabilitation and strengthening exercises.
Despite the injury, Ikeda will have to be ready to perform on at least four events at the Olympic trials, which will be held in Calgary from July 7-10. If he is unable to perform the minimum number of events at trials, his Olympic dream will be over. No injury petitions to the team's training camp will be accepted.
In spite of the setback, Ikeda remains optimistic. "I think I'll be ready," he said, adding, "There's no other choice."
While Ikeda's absence means that there will be a new Canadian champion crowned for the first time since 2000, the British Columbia native noted that his impressive winning streak isn't actually over. "Technically, they didn't actually beat me," he said with a laugh. Ikeda said that, if not for the injury, he had expected a three-way duel between himself, David Kikuchi, and Grant Golding for the national title. "I think that, if all three of us hit, it would have been really close."
The Ikeda family was dealt a second blow late last week when Richard's younger brother, Ken, suffered a frightening fall from high bar during training camp, injuring his shoulder in the process. Medical reports indicate that the injury appears to be mostly bruising, but it is possible that the 22 year-old's shoulder separated when he collapsed sideways off the high bar while completing a pirouette, sending him crashing first onto the wires that support the apparatus, then the concrete floor. Initial reports indicate the injury is less serious than that sustained by older brother Richard, but Ken's training remains limited at this point. Nonetheless, he expects to be back at full strength for next month's Olympic Trials.
JUNE 2 - KIKUCHI LEADS AFTER DAY ONE
|Kikuchi at the |
2002 world championships
Photo courtesy Grace Chiu
David Kikuchi is the early leader after day one of the senior men's competition at the Canadian championships, which got underway today at the Hershey Centre. Kikuchi, who trains at Halifax's Alta club, hit all six routines with only minor errors to score 54.525. Kikuchi's best performances came on the pommel horse and parallel bars, where he took the top score of the day.
Finishing second was Kikuchi's 2003 and 2001 world championship teammate, Grant Golding, who totalled 54.300. Golding placed first on rings, but took several landing deductions on floor (out of bounds and off the mat on his last pass), which hurt his score.
Nineteen year-old Adam Wong made a statement that he will be a contender for the Olympic team with a stable performance that was good enough for third place. Wong's 53.900 was strong enough to hold off world team alternate Casey Sandy, who was fourth with 53.325. Sandy took the highest score of the day on high bar (nice double-twisting double layout dismount).
Rounding out the top six were Pan American Games gold medallist Brandon O'Neil, who, not surprisingly, had the top score of the day on his best event, floor exercise en route to a 52.350 total, and former junior stand-out Nathan Gafuik (fall on 2 1/2-twisting Yurchenko), with 51.650.
The men's competition was hampered by the loss of several top competitors to injury. Double world medallist Kyle Shewfelt withdrew as he continues to recover from an ankle injury, while brothers Richard and Ken Ikeda both suffered shoulder injuries last week. The withdrawal of Richard Ikeda, a four-time Canadian champion, means that the men will crown a new national champion this week for the first time since 2000. The men's competition concludes with a second day of all-around competition on Friday.
JUNE 2 - VIDEOS OF MEN'S PRELIMINARIES AVAILABLE
Select videos from today's men's
prelims are now available!
JUNE 1 - TRAINING REPORT
Gymn.ca was on hand today at the Hershey Centre, where many of the top junior and senior men and women were finishing up some pre-competition training.
A report is available.
MAY 30 - WILLIAMS OUT OF NATIONALS, TRIALS
2003 Gymnix International
Photo by Grace Chiu
Lydia Williams' back injury will prevent her from competing at both the upcoming Canadian championships, as well as next month's Olympic Trials. Tests performed last week revealed that Williams, 17, sustained a compression fracture in her T11 vertebrae. The injury surfaced after a training session for the Pacific Alliance Championships, which took place last month in Hawaii (see May 27 News story for more details).
Williams' coach, Carol-Angela Orchard confirmed her athlete's inability to compete at the upcoming national championships and trials, though she noted that "Lydia will certainly attend both events to cheer on her teammates." Despite the setback, it appears that Williams will be ready to resume training relatively soon. "The doctors have assured us, that just like any other bone in the body, it will heal 100% and she will be back to her full program shortly," Orchard said.
MAY 25 - SHEWFELT TO MISS NATIONALS AS INJURY HEALS
|Shewfelt at the |
2003 world championships
Photo courtesy Grace Chiu
Double world bronze medallist Kyle Shewfelt will likely not compete at next week's Canadian championships as he continues to recover from a serious ankle injury sustained earlier this year, Gymn.ca has learned.
Shewfelt, 21, sustained a talus bone contusion when he landed awkwardly on vault at the Cottbus Cup in Germany in early March. Doctors have told him that the injury typically takes between three and nine months to heal, though Shewfelt is hopeful that he will be at full strength by the time of the Olympics in Athens. "I have looked at the calendar and I think that if I am completely
recovered by mid-June then I will be in perfect shape for Olympics," he told Gymn.ca earlier this week.
At the time of the injury, Shewfelt was on a roll, having won the bronze on floor exercise and vault at last year's world championships, becoming the first Canadian to accomplish such a feat. He followed up his record-setting peformance with a gold medal on floor and bronze on vault at the DTB Cup in November, and was the leader on floor after preliminaries in Cottbus when he sustained the injury. Since then, Shewfelt has been unable to train at full strength, though he has recently begun to train Yurchenko vaults and perform some tumbling with soft landings on floor exercise.
"It is kind of funny because I never thought that I would be so excited to do a Yurchenko or a double back. I am really happy with the way the recovery is going though," he said. "I think that many positive things have come out of this injury and I know that it has made me stronger. It has also made me realize that I shouldn't take anything for granted."
As for his status at the national championships, which get underway next Wednesday at Mississauga's Hershey Centre, Shewfelt said he will likely not compete any events as he continues to heal. "I am still not able to do any hard landings or my tumbling passes. I just don't think it's worth the risk to compete at nationals." Shewfelt said he will, however, travel to Ontario to attend a training camp in Burlington this week, and will do some media work while at the national championships.
"I am upset that I won't be competing at nationals, but it is the best thing for me at the moment. My goals are for August and I need to be smart right now," Shewfelt said.
Despite the setback, Shewfelt remains confident that he will be prepared for a peak performance in Athens. "I expect to be 95% by trials and then 100% by Olympics.
"I am really looking forward to the summer. I am looking forward to the training camps and all of the preparation. I am also looking forward to competing in my second Olympic Games. I think that it is going to be awesome and I don't think that I will even remember having this stupid injury when Athens comes."
MAY - CBC TO AIR 2004 CANADIAN ARTISTIC NATIONALS
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) has confirmed their coverage of the event. CBC will be airing LIVE from the Hershey Centre Saturday June 5 starting at 4pm EST/1pm PST. A two hour broadcast is planned.