AARHUS 2006: News
OCTOBER 21 - HISTORIC BRONZE FOR HOPFNER-HIBBS
Toronto's Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs made history today by winning the first ever women's medal for Canada at the world championships in Aarhus. Hopfner-Hibbs was the second gymnast to compete, and she earned a 15.475 (6.3 A score) for a solid exercise including her very difficult and eye catching series (aerial cartwheel to two layouts - the only event finallist to do this series). She nailed most of her other difficult elements including a handspring mount, an illusion-full, double turn, aerial round-off, and a double tuck dismount. Hopfner-Hibbs was only a tenth of a point behind the gold medal winner Irina Krasnyanska of Ukraine who scored 15.575. Silver medallist Sandra Isbaza of Romania scored 15.50.
Balance Beam Results
1. Irina Krasnyanskaya (UKR) 15.575
2. Sandra Izbasa (ROM) 15.50
3. Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs (CAN) 15.475
4. Anna Pavlova (RUS) 15.275
5. Zhang Nan (CHN) 15.275
6. Vanessa Ferrari (ITA) 14.675
7. Steliana Nistor (ROM) 14.575
8. Olga Scherbatykh (UKR) 14.325
OCTOBER 20 - SHEWFELT TAKES BRONZE ON FLOOR
Calgary's Kyle Shewfelt, Olympic champion on the floor exercise, took the bronze medal on that event today at the world championships in Aarhus. Shewfelt hit a very clean routine with his only mistakes being a step backwards on his opening pass (piked arabian double front) and a hop backwards on his final pass (a tucked double twisting double back). The gold medal went to former world champion Marian Dragulescu of Romania and the silver to last year's world champion Diego Hypolito of Brazil. Shewfelt scored a 15.70 and had a difficulty score of 6.2, whereas the winner Dragulescu's A score was a 6.9 and Hypolito's a 6.7. Tomorrow, Toronto's Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs will try to become the first Canadian woman to win a world championship medal when she competes in the balance beam final.
OCTOBER 18 - CANADIANS WITH GOOD RESULTS AT WORLDS ALL-AROUND
Adam Wong today in Aarhus, Denmark earned Canada's best ever all-around finish at the world championships, finishing in ninth place! Teammate Nathan Gafuik finished 17th. In the women's competition, Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs was a last minute replacement for an injured Lais Souza of Brazil. Hopfner-Hibbs took advantage of the opportunity and finished in 16th place. Check back for more news later.
OCTOBER 17 - CANADIAN MEN SIXTH; HOPFNER-HIBBS TO BEAM FINALS
The Canadian men finished sixth in today's team final and Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs qualified for the balance beam event final while her women's team finished 14th. Read more about the Canadian men's performance today in our reports section.
OCTOBER 16 - CANADIAN WOMEN CURRENTLY TENTH; HOPFNER-HIBBS A LIKELY BEAM FINALS BERTH
The Canadian women's team is currently ranked tenth after seven of ten women's preliminary subdivisions. Individually, Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs is ranked tied for third on the balance beam with a strong 15.375 score, with a very good chance at competing in the balance beam final later in the week. Read more about their performance in the reports section.
OCTOBER 15 - CANADIAN MEN QUALIFY FOR TEAM FINALS IN FIFTH PLACE
Following the conclusion of the men's qualifying today in Aarhus, the Canadian men's team maintained their fifth place ranking. They will compete for the first time ever in the team finals on Tuesday. This ranking bests Canada's previous best finish at the world championships, which was a ninth place showing three years ago in Anaheim. Additionally, Adam Wong and Nathan Gafuik have qualified for the individual all-around finals and Kyle Shewfelt has reached the floor exercise final. Brandon O'Neill is one of the reserves for the floor final, losing out on a tie breaker. He is also a reserve for the vault final.
Men's official qualifiers for team finals:
OCTOBER 14 - CANADA GOES TO VIDEO THREE TIMES ON FIRST DAY OF WORLDS
OCTOBER 14 – CANADIAN MEN CURRENTLY FIFTH IN TEAM STANDINGS
The Canadian men’s team is currently ranked in fifth place after competing in the fifth of nine subdivisions of men’s competition at the World Championships in Aarhus, Denmark today. The Canadians earned a total score of 361.975. China leads with a 370.45, followed by Japan (367.75), Russia (365.40) and Romania (364.325). Not surprisingly the Canadians had their best team score on floor exercise – a 61.25 – the second best team floor score so far. Individually, Adam Wong and Nathan Gafuik, both of Calgary, are in a good position to qualify for the individual all-around final. Currently, Wong stands in eighth place (90.125) and Gafuik 14th (89.60). Olympic floor exercise champion Kyle Shewfelt, also of Calgary, scored a 15.475 on floor, and world silver medallist Brandon O’Neill of Edmonton a 15.25 to stand fourth and fifth respectively. Both gymnasts are in a good position to qualify for the apparatus finals on this event, currently led by Olympic silver medallist Marian Dragulescu of Romania, who earned a 16.20 – the only gymnast to break 16 points on the event so far. The other Canadian gymnasts put up some impressive numbers, with Ken Ikeda of Abbotsford leading the team on pommel horse (15.05) and David Kikuhci of Halifax earning the top Canadian mark on the still rings (15.575).
Based on the teams who are still scheduled to compete tomorrow, Canada has an excellent chance to reach the team final. The top 8 teams qualify for Tuesday’s final, which will be decided under the 6-3-3 team format. All-around and individual apparatus qualification will also be finalized after the conclusion of the preliminary competition tomorrow.
The following are links to the complete results so far: Current Team Standings
Current Individual Standings.
Here are some tidbits from the men's competition so far:
- 5th after their subdivision (good on paper, but lots of missed routines - which leaves room for improvement in team finals, should the team qualify); at the end of rotation 6, they all seemed happy
- Shewfelt had a balance check in the corner after his mount on floor, and almost went out of bounds later on one of his prone elements; he also took several steps back on his Yurchenko 2 1/2 vault
- O'Neill was a bit off on floor, but did a great first vault, with a big step on the second; he also peeled off parallel bars
- Ikeda who led the team on parallel bars and pommel horse fell off high bar
- Only four gymnasts competed on pommel horse
- Shewfelt and Dragulescu were announced as respective Olympic champions prior to their specialities
- The Canadians impressed many in the arena
- all 7 canadian WAG were there to cheer on the guys
- Gael Mackie flies home on the 16th for some sort of medical procedure
OCTOBER 12 - MACKIE WITHDRAWS DUE TO STOMACH MUSCLE INJURY
Gael Mackie of Coquitlam, BC, has withdrawn from the World Championships due to a torn stomach muscle. She will be replaced in the Canadian lineup by Rebecca Simbhudas, of Unionville, Ontario, who flew into Aarhus, Denmark just in time to participate in podium training with her teammates. On a more positive note for the Canadian team, both Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs or Toronto and Marci Bernholtz of Unionville, Ontario, were able to train on all four events during podium training Thursday, after having been limited to selected events at the Canadian selection camp last month.
OCTOBER 3 - PELLETIER SHARES THOUGHTS ABOUT WORLDS TEAM
Pelletier with Amelie Plante
at the 2004 Olympic Trials. Photo by Leslie Foster
The 2006 World Championships are fewer than two weeks away, and preparations are at full steam. Whereas some countries have yet to announce their definitive teams, Canada announced their Women’s Artistic Gymnastics team hours after trials. The team consists of Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs, Crystal Gilmore, Alyssa Brown, Brittnee Habbib, Gael Mackie, and Marci Bernholtz. Between them, the girls have enjoyed success at such competitions as the 2000 and 2004 Olympics, 1998 and 2006 Commonwealth Games, 2006 Pacific Alliance Championships, and various World Cup competitions. National team coach Claude Pelletier recently spoke with Gymn.ca, sharing the decisions that went into selecting this year’s team and his hopes for their performance in Aarhus, Denmark. Read interview!
OCTOBER 2 – CBC TO AIR 2006 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
Gymn.ca has learned that CBC will provide coverage of the upcoming 2006 World Championships from Aarhus, Denmark. CBC colour commentator Lori Strong will be in Aarhus to report on the Canadian efforts. Many thanks to all who emailed CBC, encouraging them to cover this year's World Championships.
OCTOBER 1 – MEN’S WORLD TEAM FINALIZED
Calgary Gymnastics Center tonight played host to Canada's seven member men's team for the upcoming 2006 World Championships. The men competed in the last of multiple trials, showing a high level of preparation and enthusiasm for the upcoming competition in Denmark. Coaches and officials faced a tough decision at the meet's conclusion - naming the alternate. Grant Golding (U of Calgary), who returned to competition approximately two months ago following a training stint with Cirque du Soleil, has been named the reserve. Golding will travel with the six competing members, and may be called upon to compete in case of injury or difficulty adapting to the podium in Aarhus.
Headlining the team is 2004 Olympian Kyle Shewfelt, who returned to training earlier this year with titles at the 2006 Commonwealth Games and 2006 Pacific Alliance Championships. Joining him are three fellow members from the 2004 Olympic team; Ken Ikeda (Abbostford Twisters), 2006 Canadian National Champion David Kikuchi (Alta), and 2005 Canadian National Champion Adam Wong (Calgary Gymnastics Center). Wong gained nation wide attention in March, winning the floor title at the 2006 Commonwealth Games.
Also named to the team are Brandon O'Neill (Capital City) and Nathan Gafuik (U of Calgary). O'Neill has won multiple medals on the World Cup scene, and placed second on floor exercise at last year's Worlds in Melbourne. Gafuik, a strong all-arounder, earned silver in the men's all-around at the 2006 Commonwealth Games.
The team, Canada's best ever assembled, is focused on qualifying to the team finals. Individually, several men hold realistic chances at medals.
Several of the men will have family members supporting them from the stands. In David Kikuchi's case, that includes new wife Crystal Gilmore. Gilmore, who announced comeback following several years in retirement, was recently named to Canada's women's team for these same World Championships. Theirs is believed to be the first case of married husband and wife competing at the same World Championships.
Gymn.ca will be present in Aarhus, so look for delayed reports and photos of the Canadian effort!
SEPTEMBER 18 – GYMNASTICS CANADA CONFIRMS MEN’S WORLD TEAM
Today Gymnastics Canada Gymnastique confirmed the seven member men’s team for next month’s world championships in Aarhus, Denmark. The team consists of Nathan Gafuik (U of Calgary), Grant Golding (U of Calgary), Ken Ikeda (Abbostford Twisters), David Kikuchi (Alta), Brandon O’Neill (Capital City), Kyle Shewfelt (U of Calgary), and Adam Wong (Calgary Gymnastics Center). No alternate has been specified. The final roster is expected to be announced at month's end, and the men compete their preliminary round on October 14.
SEPTEMBER 6 - WOMEN'S WORLD TEAM CONFIRMED
Today Gymnastics Canada Gymnastique confirmed the six women selected to compete for Canada at next month's World Gymnastics Championships in Aarhus, Denmark. The team will be: Marci Bernholtz (ASF), Alyssa Brown (Gymnastics Mississauga), Crystal Gilmore (Cambridge/Taiso), Brittnee Habbib (Gemini), Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs (Seneca), and Gael Mackie (Omega).
SEPTEMBER 6 – MACKIE AND BROWN NAMED TO WORLD TEAM
Gael Mackie of Omega and Alyssa Brown of Gymnastics Mississauga were named to the 2006 world championships team today, after finishing first and second, respectively, at a selection activity held at Gymnastics Mississauga. Mackie scored a 56.35 in the all-around and Brown a 55.40. Mackie fell forward on her bar dismount but hit some new elements elsewhere, including a Yurchenko 1 ½ on vault and a double pike off beam. Mackie told Gymn.ca that she was happy with her performance and that she had a pretty good day except for the uneven bars. She was very happy to land her new vault. She hopes to compete in the all-around at the world championships.
Brown, whose best events of the day were uneven bars and vault, said she was “really excited” to be named to the team as one of the top two all-around gymnasts at the selection activity. “It’s something I’ve dreamed about since I was little,” she told Gymn.ca. “To be in the top two and named to the team is an amazing feeling.”
Finishing in third place (and likely to be named to the team officially tomorrow when the team will be announced) was 2000 Olympian Crystal Gilmore, who, despite a few mistakes along the way, showed some upgrades, including an attempted Yurchenko 1 ½ on vault, a back full twist on the beam (which she consistently competed in her first career and she landed here) and a double back off beam (which she hopes to soon upgrade to a double pike) that she has not competed in eleven years. Gilmore told Gymn.ca that she has been training with her former coach Elvira Saadi at Cambridge Kips for the month of August and that she worked very hard over the summer to upgrade her routines. About her new vault, she said that the Yurchenko 1 ½ was “Very hard to learn because vault has never been my forte.” Although she missed her vault in the competition she landed many successfully this week in training and in the warm-ups.
As of July 1st, Gilmore is a carded member of the national team, which she is very excited about. She was glad to be able to prove to the national coach that she is back and able to contribute to the team. The carding money has helped her tremendously, as she had previously been supporting her training by coaching herself – which she really enjoyed – but now she is able to focus more on training. She is also said it would be cool to return to the world championships with her husband David Kikuchi, the current Canadian men’s all-around champion, who is very likely to be named to the men’s team following their next trials, in two weeks. Kikuchi was at the competition tonight to support Gilmore. The couple began dating shortly before competing at the 2001 world championships.
The world championship team will be named tomorrow and will be chosen from among the other participants from tonight’s selection activity. Canadian all-around champion Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs of Seneca only competed on bars and beam due to a slight ankle injury. She debuted a toe-on piked Tkatchev on uneven bars and had a great save on her triple turn on beam, where she earned the highest difficulty score of the meet, a 6.6. Marci Bernholtz of ASF, who recently verballed to compete for UCLA starting in the fall of 2008, competed on vault, bars, and beam only. She has battled injury the last two seasons, including a genetic problem with her knee, which required a special gel treatment aid in strengthening her cartilage. She and coach Paula Johnson hope that she will back to full strength on vault and tumbling following another treatment on her knee in four months. Their long term goal remains the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
Other contenders for the team who competed tonight include Brittnee Habbib of Gemini who showed a new floor routine (nice triple twist mount); Rebecca Simbhudas of Pulsars, who had several mistakes at tonight’s meet but showed nice stalder work and a Jaeger release on bars; and Aisha Gerber of Cambridge who only competed a modified floor routine (new music but watered down tumbling). According to her coach Elvira Saadi, Gerber has been through a growth spurt and is working hard to adjust the timing of her skills. Cynthia Lemieux of Gym-Richelieu, originally on the roster, did not compete.
Select video clips will be available later this week.
AUGUST 31 – MEN'S FIELD FOR WORLDS NARROWED TO EIGHT
The University of Calgary hosted a third World team trials for Canada's top male gymnasts. A team of seven was originally expected to be named following today's meet, but new plans see the men reconvening in late September at Calgary Gymnastics Center for another training camp and selection meet.
Competing today were Kyle Shewfelt, Adam Wong, David Kikuchi, Nathan Gafuik, Ken Ikeda, Brandon O'Neill, Jared Walls, and Grant Golding. As reported in Gymn.ca's Aug. 13 news flash ("Canadian Men Gearing Up for Worlds"), Golding has returned the gym following a training stint at Cirque du Soleil. Absent from today's trials was Olympian Sasha Jeltkov, who has presumably removed himself from contention.
Gymn.ca is pleased to present videos from today's trials on our multimedia page.
AUGUST 31 – GYMNASTICS MISSISSAUGA TO HOST WOMEN’S TEAM TRIALS
Gymnastics Mississauga will be hosting the women’s selection activity for the 2006 World Championships next week, Wednesday, September 6th at 6:00 pm. Tickets will be on sale at the door, $5 for children 14 and under and $10 for ages 15 and up. Nine gymnasts have been invited to participate in the selection activity. They are: Marci Bernholtz, ASF, Richmond Hill, ON; Alyssa Brown, Gymnastics Mississauga, ON; Aisha Gerber, Cambridge Kips, ON; Crystal Gilmore, Cambridge Kips, ON; Brittnee Habbib, Gemini Gymnastics, Oshawa, ON; Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs, Sport Seneca, Toronto, ON; Cynthia Lemieux, Gym-Richelieu, St. Hubert, QC; Gael Mackie, Omega Gymnastics, Coquitlam, BC; Rebecca Simbhudas, Pulsars Gymnastics, Newmarket, ON.
Gymnastics Mississauga is located at 1395 Mississauga Valley Boulevard in Mississauga. Click on the preceding link for a map and directions.
Gymn.ca will be in attendance to provide reports and videos from the competition.
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