[an error occurred while processing this directive]

Archive: April, 2001

Back to the News Archive Index


Toronto's Michelle Conway and Hamilton's Joelle Ouellette continued their string of impressive international results on the floor exercise with 4th and 7th place finishes at the prestigious Moscow Stars of the World and Romanian International, respectively. Ouellette, who also placed 15th in the women's all-around competition, scored an 8.750 for her efforts. The event was won by the reigning world champion on the floor exercise, Andreea Raducan of Romania, who scored an impressive 9.550 to take the gold. Sara Moro, a 2000 Olympian for Spain, and rising Dutch star Verona van de Leur, took second and third, respectively.


Kate Richardson

Kate Richardson, 15th at last year's Olympic Games, used her guest appearance at the Elite Ontario meet to debut several new elements in preparation for major competition later this year. Richardson, 16, unveiled a unique first tumbling pass of two whipbacks through to an Arabian double front, which she fell on both days. Richardson also added a new 1 1/2 pirouette to inverted giants on the uneven bars, and a planche step-down to two layouts and "true" Omelianchik (back dive with inward 3/4 turn) to handstand on the balance beam. After the competition, Richardson indicated that she and her coach, David Kenwright, are continuing to work on a 1 1/2 twisting Yurchenko, but the vault was not yet ready for competition.

Check out our Elite Ontario Photo Gallery


Canada's top senior trampoline and tumbling athletes competed at the second national team trials, held from April 22nd to 23rd in Red Deer, Alberta. Not surprisingly, Canadian Olympic bronze medallist Karen Cockburn won the women's trampoline event. Cockburn, who trains at the Skyriders trampoline club in Ontario, has been consistently leading the Canadian women's trampoline team for the past several years.

On the men's side, Marty Myers surprised his fellow competitors with a win in the individual trampoline event. Myers, who also trains at the Skyriders club, placed 10th at the first team trials, held in Burnaby, British Columbia in February. Myers' teammate and Olympic bronze medallist Mathieu Turgeon placed a disastrous 7th overall at the first trials, but bounced back to 2nd place in Alberta. Quebec's Michel Greene, the winner of the first trials, fell in the rankings after committing several errors. Karl L'Ecuyer was consistent throughout the competition to place an impressive 5th after having placed 15th at the first trials. Both Greene and L'Ecuyer train in St-Bruno at the Quadrotramp club.

Matt Dial of Alberta claimed his second win in the tumbling event, followed by Quebec's David Poirier who had placed 3rd in Burnaby. On the double-mini trampoline, Lisa Mitruk of Burlington won on the women's side. Taking home the silver medal for the second time was Ontario's Cheryl Johnson, who is on her way to a world team berth. On the men's side, February's trials winner Chris Mitruk made a mistake on one of his four passes, moving him down in the rankings. Mitruk, also from Ontario, is married to the women's double-mini winner Lisa Mitruk. Claiming the title this time was Mitruk's teammate, Dave Park. Quebec's L'Ecuyer won the silver in Burnaby, but dropped to 7th place in Red Deer.

In Red Deer, the women's tumbling event was won by Janice Creighton from Toronto. Lyndsay Hebert from Calgary took second and Neisha Davis from Brampton was third.

The third and final trial will be held in Toronto, Ontario from May 16th-19th, and will also act as the Canadian national championships. The national team trials will determine the make-up of this year's world teams in each event (only four athletes compete on each event at worlds, using the fifth overall ranked person as an alternate). This year's world championships will be held in Odense, Denmark from July 26th through to the 28th.


Michelle Conway from Sport Seneca has qualified for the floor exercise final at the prestigious Moscow Stars competition being held this weekend. Conway, in her third international appearance for Canada this season, qualified for the final in fifth place with a score of 8.60. Read more about the Moscow Stars competition at International Gymnast Online.


Canada's top ranked gymnast, Kate Richardson, will be competing as a guest competitor at this week-end's Elite Ontario competition at Seneca College in Toronto. Richardson and her coach David Kenwright felt that they needed another high level competition prior to next month's Canadian Championships in New Brunswick. The junior and senior High Performance gymnasts are competing at 9:15 in the morning on both Saturday April 28 and Sunday April 29. Gymn.ca will be in attendance at this event and will provide more information - including photographs - after the conclusion of the competition.


Canada will be represented by two of its top female athletes at international events this weekend. Sport Seneca's Michelle Conway will compete against a top field at the Moscow Stars of the World, while Hamilton's Joelle Ouellette will be looking to continue her international success at the Romanian International. Both competitions will be held this weekend, and will prevent Conway and Ouellette from competing at the Elite Ontario meet, which gets underway Friday. Stay tuned to Gymn.ca for these overseas results, as well as reports and photos from Elite Ontario.


A team of Canada's top male gymnasts defeated their English hosts at a dual meet held yesterday in Lilleshall, England. Behind strong individual performances by Olympians Kyle Shewfelt and Alexander Jeltkov, the Canadian men easily outdistanced England, 207.25 to 201.15. The competition came at the end of a nine day overseas training camp for the Canadian men, who used the experience to prepare themselves for the upcoming world championships in Ghent, Belgium.

While Canadians took five of the six individual event titles, England was able to exact some revenge by taking first and third place in the all-around finals. Canadian veteran Richard Ikeda took the silver medal behind British Olympic alternate Ross Brewer, who won the competition with a 51.95 score. England's Coung Thoong finished third.

In the individual events, Alberta's Shewfelt took the top two scores of the day for his vault and floor exercise performances, scoring an impressive 9.45 on both events to take two of the individual event titles. Canada's other individual event winners included Ken Ikeda, Richard's younger brother, on the pommel horse, Grant Golding on the parallel bars, and Jeltkov on the high bar. Golding, a native of Abbotsford, British Columbia, also tied teammate David Kikuchi for the rings title.

Full results of the dual meet are available at the Gymnastics Canada Gymnastique site.


Fournier at 2000 
Olympic Trials

2000 Olympian Emilie Fournier will announce today that she has signed a letter of intent to compete in the women's NCAA with Penn State University (PSU). Fournier, who was unable to compete at the Sydney Games due to an ankle fracture suffered during podium training, will join former Canadian world championship team members Katie McAvoy and Katie Rowland on the PSU roster.

Fournier, who has continued training throughout her difficult rehabilitation, has not yet made it clear whether she will pursue a berth on Canada's world championship team, or whether she will begin her career with PSU this September.


Mariline Barrette

Gymnastics Mississauga's Mariline Barrette has been forced out of the sport of gymnastics due to a back injury, Gymn.ca has learned. Barrette, a promising young 14 year-old who was noted for her exceptional work on the uneven bars and balance beam, was poised to be a major contributor to Canada's senior high performance program, before succumbing to a back injury that was too serious to allow her to continue.

Barrette had already enjoyed success as a Canadian gymnast, both nationally and internationally. Despite being plagued by injuries throughout her career, Barrette showed brilliance when she was healthy. Included in her resume was a first-place performance at the 1999 Junior Elite Canada, as well as a solid clutch performance for Team Canada at the Gymnastic Challenge 2000. Barrette also finished third at the 1998 Elite Canada as a twelve-year old.

Gymn.ca would like to extend our best wishes to Mariline in all of her future endeavours.


Yvonne Tousek capped a remarkable freshman year by winning the uneven bar title at the women's NCAA championship, which concluded last night in Athens, Georgia.

Tousek, a two-time Olympian for Canada, posted a 9.9375 score as the fourth gymnast up in a field of ten, then watched and waited as her score held up through the remaining competitors. Tousek defeated a field of accomplished uneven bar workers, including U.S. Olympian Elise Ray, a former world finalist on the event, who took third with a 9.900 score. Tousek's UCLA teammate, Onnie Willis, scored a 9.9125 to finish second.

For Tousek, the title marked her second appearance at the top of the podium over the three day competition. Her UCLA team won the team title by a slim 0.175 margin over the University of Georgia on Friday. Tousek also tied for third in the all-around, held as part of Thursday night's team qualifying competition.

After last night's competiton, Tousek reflected on her individual performance: "I still had a lot of excitement from last night and I was happy to come away with the title on a personal level."

While Tousek enjoyed one of the most successful competitions of all the women's competitors, Canada was represented by another four athletes in the women's event finals. Alabama's Natalie Barrington came away with Canada's second-best result of the day when she tied for fifth in the uneven bar final with a 9.850 score. Utah's Theresa Wolf placed 6th on the balance beam with a 9.8375, while Tousek struggled to a 10th place finish on the same event.

Michigan's Karina Senior took herself out of the running in the vault final when she fell on her first attempt, knocking her score down to a ninth-place 9.463. Stanford's Lise Leveille rounded out Canada's even final qualifiers with a solid 9.850 floor exercise score that placed her 11th in a deep thirteen-gymnast final.

For Tousek, the competition was the culmination of a great deal of hard work to overcome the major transition from individually-oriented international gymnastics to the team-oriented NCAA's, as she noted after the competition. "We all had thoughts about what each person was like," Tousek said, "but it was completely different once we got to know each other. We get along so well, especially since we all come from different backgrounds. Together we are very mentally tough."


Canada will be represented by five gymnasts in the event finals of the women's NCAA championships, which will be held on Saturday at the University of Georgia.

Yvonne Tousek

Michigan's Karina Senior qualified for the vault final with a 9.900 score that helped her Lady Wolverines qualify to tomorrow's team finals.

Two Canadians will take the mat for the women's uneven bar final. All-around bronze medallist Yvonne Tousek will be joined by former Gymnastics Mississauga stand-out, Natalie Barrington.

Tousek will also perform in the balance beam final, as will Utah's Theresa Wolf, whose Lady Utes team finished second in team qualifying, and have qualified to team finals.

Canada's lone qualifier on the floor exercise is British Columbia's Lise Leveille, whose Stanford squad finished an unlucky fourth in the evening qualifying session, taking them out of the running for the team title.


UCLA completed a successful preliminary competition at the women's NCAA championships by taking first place as a team and placing three athletes in the top five all-around.

Freshman Yvonne Tousek helped support UCLA's team effort with a 39.475 all-around score that has her standing in third place all-around, behind teammate Onnie Willis and 2000 U.S. Olympian Elise Ray, who share the lead with a 39.525 score. Tousek is in a three-way tie with Alabama's Jeana Rice and teammate Mohini Bhardwaj.

Competition continues tonight with the second qualifying session beginning at 7pm EST.


2000 Olympian Yvonne Tousek will lead a strong Canadian contingent into the women's NCAA Championships, which run from today through Saturday at the University of Georgia.

Canada will be represented by no less than nine athletes in today's preliminary competition, which acts as qualifying for the team and individual event finals.

Of the twelve teams qualified to compete in the Championships, five have at least one Canadian athlete in their line-up. Penn State, which did not qualify a full team, will be represented by 1997 world championship team members Katie McAvoy and Katie Rowland on the vault and floor exercise, respectively.

Tousek was a leader for the second-ranked UCLA team at the West Regional qualifying competition, where she finished 2nd all-around, behind teammate Mohini Bhardwaj. Number one-ranked Alabama competed 1997 world championship team alternate Natalie Barrington on the uneven bars only, where she scored an impressive 9.90 to help her team to first place in the Central Region qualifier.

Lise Leveille

Stanford University, which qualified 2nd out of the Northeast Regional, will compete two former Canadian Olympians on their strong squad. 1996 Olympian Jennifer Exaltacion finished fourth all-around at Regionals, while 2000 Olympian Lise Leveille performed on all events except the uneven bars.

Canada's representation at the Championships will be rounded out by the presence of former world team members Veronique Leclerc and Theresa Wolf on Utah's squad, and Markham's Karina Senior on the University of Michigan's team. Former national team member Alison Rudisi was forced to miss her freshman year at Michigan due to injury.

Stay tuned to Gymn.ca for complete NCAA Championship results throughout the weekend.


The International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) approved a series of controversial new rules at their annual Council Meeting, held this past weekend in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Among the changes approved included a dramatic switch in the format of Competition IV (team finals) in men's and women's artistic gymnastics. From this point forward, team finals will be conducted under a 6-3-3 format, with six gymnasts on each team, three performing on each apparatus, and all three scores counting. Under the previous rules, team finals were conducted under the 6-5-4 system, meaning that from a team of six, five gymnasts performed on each apparatus, and the top four scores counted. In addition to the change in format, which applies only to team finals (Competition I, or team preliminaries, will continue under the old 6-5-4 system), the number of teams qualifying to Competition IV will be raised from six teams to eight.

The format of the all-around competition (Competition III) will also undergo some changes. Reverting back to a system used at the 1989 world championships, all-around competitors will be divided into two groups, with the top group entering the arena last.

Also approved at the Council Meeting was an increase in the minimum age for senior rhythmic competitors from 15 to 16 years of age. The new age limit will not take effect until January 1, 2005.

A pdf file outlining the changes approved by the FIG Council are available at gymmedia.com .


Lydia Williams
dances at Spring Cup
Crystal Gilmore
back in action!

The 2001 Spring Cup Invitational at the Burlington Gymnastics Club this weekend served as a mini preview of sorts for the rest of the Canadian competitive season. Not only were some of the top up and comers from Ontario in attendance (including Lydia Williams, Melanie Banville, Teri Gibson, current junior national champion Heather Purnell in her first Canadian appearance in nearly a year), two of the top juniors from Western Canada (current junior Elite Canada champion Lisa Pattison from Saskatchewan and Amanda Gering from Alberta) also participated. Established Canadian senior competitors - including Olympian Crystal Gilmore - as well as Abby Pearson, Aubrey Taylor, and Chantelle Tousek, also competed. Olympian Michelle Conway was also on hand, and although she warmed up a bit prior to the competition, did not compete this time. Many of the athletes chose not to compete on all events, still going through the growing pains of the new code of points. Gymn.ca will post results as soon as they are available. A more detailed report of the competition is now available at the events section.

April 12, 2001

Welcome to the grand opening of Gymn.ca! We at Gymn.ca hope to "Bring Canadian Gymnastics to the World" by presenting you, our visitors, with information about the Canadian athletes, coaches, competitions and more! Feel free to browse the site and check out the message board!


Burlington's Aubrey Taylor

The 2001 Burlington Spring Cup for women's gymnastics begins today and will run through Saturday at the Burlington Gymnastics Club. The annual competition will feature gymnasts from across Canada, and will also include international competitors from Mexico.

Today's competition begins with provincial stream gymnasts, while the FIG senior and junior competitors will compete in one flight Friday, beginning at 3:00 pm, and two on Saturday, starting at 12:30 pm.

Burlington Gymnastics is located at 710 Maple Avenue in Burlington. Further event information is available by calling the club at (905) 637-5774.


Gilmore with coach Saadi

Canadian Olympian Crystal Gilmore has signed a letter of intent to compete at the University of Utah, according to a report on the NCAA website, www.fansonly.com. Gilmore, 18, will not compete for Utah in the upcoming 2001-2002 season, and will only join the team when she feels she has completed her duties to Canadian gymnastics, according to her future coach, Greg Marsden.

Since the Sydney Olympics last fall, Gilmore has expressed an interest in continuing to compete for Canada, possibly through the 2004 Olympic Games. Originally the alternate for the Sydney squad, Gilmore was called upon to compete when teammate Emilie Fournier was forced to withdraw from the competition after suffering a leg fracture during podium training. Gilmore is a member of the Cambridge Kips gymnastics club, where she is coached by Vladimir Kondratenko and two-time Olympic champion Elvira Saadi.


Canadian men were well represented at the men's NCAA championships, held this weekend in Columbus, Ohio. Senior Leo Oka, a product of Scarborough's Sport Seneca club, and sophomore Brett Covey both earned All-American honours for their performances, while 1999 NCAA all-around champion Jason Hardabura made a successful return to major competition after season-ending shoulder surgery last year.

Oka, a member of the University of Illinois' Fighting Illini team, capped a successful NCAA career with a 6th-place finish in the men's all-around. His 54.075 score was less than a point away from California's Cody Moore's bronze-medal 54.775. Ohio State's Jamie Natalie and Raj Bhavsar placed first and second, respectively, in the all-around competition.

Oka also took 7th on men's rings, missing All-American status on that event by just one place. The bigger disappointment for Oka, however, was his team missing the top-three cut-off for men's finals when they finished 4th in their qualifying competition. Ohio State went on to win the men's title.

After the all-around competition, Oka reflected on his performance. "I had a solid competition tonight and I feel very fortunate to be an All-American among such a talented group of all-arounders this year. I only wish our entire team had been on the floor competing for team honours as well."

For Covey, a native of Houston, Texas, who owns Canadian citizenship, the team competition did not end with the qualifying round. His Oklahoma Sooners took second in the men's team final, just 0.35 points behind Ohio States' championship total of 218.125. Covey contributed the team's highest score on his only event of the day, rings, with a 9.450 that also earned him a trip to event finals. In the rings final, the former Cypress Academy gymnast took the bronze medal with an identical 9.450. Penn State's Chris Lakeman took the title with a 9.550, while Michigan's Scott Vetere scored a 9.487 to earn second place.

While Hardabura's meet was less successful than his Canadian compatriots, the Nebraska Cornhusker still had reason to be proud of his 11th-place finish in the all-around. The 25 year-old former Burlington BG missed two event finals by just one rank, placing 9th on both vault and parallel bars.

While Nebraska did not qualify a full team to the NCAA championships, Hardabura was joined by fellow Husker and Canadian teammate, Martin Fournier, in the men's competition. Fournier, a junior, qualified in only one event, finishing 26th on parallel bars.

After the competition, Nebraska coach Francis Allen discussed his team's performance. "Except for one mistake on pommel horse, Jay was almost perfect tonight. It makes you see that the guys are doing the right thing in the gym. All the guys did really well, we just didn't have enough of them."

The NCAA gymnastics season concludes next weekend with the women's NCAA championships, hosted by the University of Georgia.


Hamilton's Joelle Ouellette finished a successful weekend with an impressive 4th-place finish in the women's floor exercise at the 2001 Cottbus Grand Prix. Ouellette, who trains at Hamilton's Gym Elites gymnastics club, had qualified to the women's semi-final with a 4th-place showing in the Thursday's preliminary competition.

In the women's semi-final, Ouellette hit all of her tumbling elements, including a full-in to begin and a triple twist and double pike for middle passes, until she landed her final pass, a front through to a 2 twist, out of bounds. Her 8.850 score was less than three tenths of a point from qualifying to the winner's final, where Russia's Ekaterina Lobaznyuk outscored Verona van de Leur of the Netherlands, 9.200 to 9.100. Ouellette also had some favourable results on her other two events, finishing 13th on the balance beam, and just missing the top-eight cut-off for semi-finals with a 10th-place showing on the vault.

Gymnix's Amelie Plante joined Ouellette in Cottbus, finishing the preliminary competition with mixed results. After a 12th-place standing on her specialty, the uneven bars, Plante had a poor performance on the balance beam, leaving her 21st on that event. She rebounded well, however, and ended her event on a high note with her best finish of the competition, taking 11th in the floor exercise preliminary.


Beaulieu at the
2000 Olympic Trials

Canadian Olympian Julie Beaulieu capped a remarkable transition from gymnastics to diving with a 23rd-place finish in the women's three metre springboard at the Canadian diving championships, held this weekend in Winnipeg. Beaulieu, the 1999 Canadian champion and former star for Montreal's Gymnix gymnastics club, made the switch to diving after finishing her gymnastics career at the Sydney Olympics last fall.

Canada's top male diver, Alexandre Despatie, invited Beaulieu to try the sport once the two returned home after the Games, and Beaulieu took easily to it. Since that time, Beaulieu has taken the gold medal in three junior competitions as she trained for the national championships. Her twelve years of gymnastic training, in addition to her Olympic-level conditioning, has sped her progress considerably. "For the moment, it's not very difficult. I do have to work with my fear, because all of these elements are new to me. In gymnastics, I was doing practically the same routines for almost three years."


Conway at the
2000 Olympic Trials

Michelle Conway continued to test her abilities in the 2001 season this weekend at the Friendship Classic in Pottsville, Pennsylvania. Competing in her second international event in two weeks, Conway tied for 5th all-around with 1998 junior European champion, Anna Kovalyova of Russia after committing a pair of major errors. The competition was won by three-time Olympian, Oksana Chusovitina (Uzbekistan), who shows no signs of slowing down after more than a decade on the international scene. Two of Germany's top gymnasts, Birgit Schweigert and Lisa Bruggemann, took the silver and bronze, respectively.

Conway, 17, is using her performance at the Friendship Classic, along with the recent Gymnix International, which she won, as an indication of her progress after post-Olympic knee surgery. Conway and her coaches, Carol Angela Orchard and Brian McVey of Toronto's Sport Seneca club, will soon decide whether to commit to training for October's world championships in Ghent, Belgium, or to prepare for NCAA gymnastics. Conway has signed a letter of intent to UCLA, where she will compete for the defending national champion Lady Bruins on a full scholarship.

Also competing at the Friendship Classic were 2000 Olympic Trials participant, Aubrey Taylor, who now represents Burlington Gymnastics, and ASF's Danielle Hicks, the floor exercise champion from the recent Gymnix International. While both girls struggled with consistency at this event, counting several major breaks each, they will certainly gain valuable experience from competing under the new Code of Points that went into effect this January.

Back to the News Archive Index

[an error occurred while processing this directive]