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Archive: April 2002

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UCLA's Yvonne Tousek and Nebraska's Richelle Simpson were Canada's top performers in the women's team preliminary and all-around final competition at the NCAA Championships, taking place this weekend in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Tousek, a two-time Canadian Olympian, was a major contributor to UCLA's second-place effort that earned them a spot in tonight's Super Six team final. Individually, the Cambridge, Ontario native placed 13th overall and qualified to event finals on the uneven bars with a 9.875 score. Last year, Tousek tied for third in the all-around competition and was the NCAA Champion on the uneven bars.

The all-around competition was won by Tousek's UCLA teammate and 2000 U.S. Olympian Jamie Dantzscher, who scored 39.675 to take the title over Alabama's Andree Pickens (39.625) and Utah's Theresa Kulikowski (39.600).

Simpson, a former competitor for the Winstonettes club, was Canada's top all-around finisher in eighth with a total score of 39.425. Simpson had previously competed for Penn State University, but transferred to Nebraska last year. Nebraska finished third in their preliminary session, securing the final berth to team finals.

Also moving on to Saturday's event finals competition were 2000 Olympian Lise Leveille (balance beam), and 1997 world championship team member Natalie Barrington (uneven bars). Both Leveille's Stanford team and Barrington's Alabama squad have qualified to the Super Six final. Also qualifying to team finals with their respective teams were Veronique Leclerc and Kim Allan (Utah), and Michelle Conway (UCLA). Other Canadians in the field who failed to advance to team or event finals included LSU seniors and former Gymnastics Mississauga teammates Shanyn MacEachern and Marina Degteva.


With the arrival of the Canadian women's teams in British Columbia on Monday, the final push to prepare for the 2002 Pacific Alliance Championships is underway. The Canadian women's teams of Amelie Plante, Kylie Stone, and Danielle Hicks (senior), as well as Lydia Williams, Melanie Rocca, and Gael Mackie (junior) will train, along with reserves Heather Purnell and Amanda Gering, over the coming weeks in preparation for the event. Senior women's team candidate Vanessa Meloche has removed herself from eligibility to rest a nagging injury.

Canada's top male gymnasts, including Pacific Alliance team members Richard Ikeda, Grant Golding, and David Kikuchi (senior), as well as Matthew Ryan, Brandon O'Neill, and Adam Wong (junior) will travel to Colorado Springs from April 23-29 to participate in their own preparation camp for the Championships.

The Canadian teams will be in heady company in Vancouver, with some of the world's best athletes named to their respective teams to the Championships. In the men's field, the United States has confirmed the entry of 2001 world parallel bars champion Sean Townsend, as well as world team silver medallists Paul Hamm, Brett McClure, and recent Winter Cup champion Todd Thornton. One athlete will serve as alternate. The Chinese men will be represented by an equally proficient group, including 2000 Olympic all-around silver medallist Yang Wei, and world and Olympic team champion Huang Xu. Reigning world high bar silver medallist Philippe Rizzo headlines the Australian team, where he will be joined by fellow 2000 Olympian Damian Istria, as well as Ian Bartlett.

While the U.S. women's team has not yet been named, Australia determined its top three athletes after trials competitions the past two weekends. The Australian team will undoubtedly challenge for the title in Vancouver, with a roster that includes World Cup medallist Allana Slater, 2001 world uneven bars finalist Jacqui Dunn, and 2000 Olympian Alexandra Croak. The Chinese women's team is a mixed group of newcomers and veterans, led by 2001 world balance beam silver medallist Sun Xiaojiao. Joining Sun on the Chinese roster is the ultra-powerful Chen Miaojie, bars specialist Lin Li, and 2000 American Cup participant Liu Wei. Again, one athlete will be named alternate at a later date.

Gymn.ca will be on hand in Vancouver, providing live coverage of the Pacific Alliance Championships, which will be held from May 3-5 at Vancouver's Bill Copeland Sports Arena. For ticket and event information, click on the icon below the "What's New" box.


The senior and youth national tumbling and trampoline trials were held last weekend in Vancouver, and Olympic bronze medallists Karen Cockburn and Mathieu Turgeon were in fine form.

Cockburn won the women's individual trampoline event, as well as the synchronized competition with partner Heather Ross-McManus. Ross-McManus also finished second in the individual competition.

In the men's competition, Turgeon returned to top form with a victory over Toronto's Chris Mitruk and Quebec's Charles Thibault. Like the women's event, the top two men joined forces to win the synchronized event. Turgeon had struggled of late, missing last year's world championships and finishing eighth at the 2001 Goodwill Games in Brisbane, Australia, less than a year after taking the bronze medal in the inaugural trampoline competition at the 2000 Olympic Games.

Mitruk claimed his second gold and third medal overall with a victory in the double mini trampoline, an event in which he is a former world champion. The women's competition was won by Sarah Caruso, while David Cowen and Lyndsay Hebert took home the titles in men's and women's tumbling.

The trials serve as a national re-ranking event and results help determine international assignments and athlete carding. The competition is the last major domestic event before the national championships, which will be held from May 15-18 in Red Deer, Alberta.


This week marks one year since gymn.ca was launched with a report on the women's competition at the 2001 Spring Cup. Since that time, gymn.ca has grown into one of Canada's most popular gymnastics websites, thanks in large part to our readers from across Canada and around the world. It has been an exciting and busy year, and as we enter our second year of existence, we look forward to providing you with even more in-depth coverage of Canada's best gymnasts.

Over the coming months, look for gymn.ca's wall-to-wall, up-to-the-minute coverage of the Pacific Alliance Championships and Canadian Championships. We will also be working hard to expand our profile database, results archive, as well as to provide you with new and exciting photos, videos, and features. We have big plans for the future of gymn.ca, so stay tuned!

Thanks to the many people who have helped make gymn.ca a success, including our many contributors of photographs, results, and event information and reports. Thanks also to our athletes, coaches, and their supporters who have made gymn.ca a part of their lives. And finally, thank you to all of our readers - without you, there would be no gymn.ca! Here is to many more years of Bringing Canadian Gymnastics to the World!


Competing against a large and decorated international field, Canada's Aubrey Taylor and Mark Beiler qualified to event finals at last week's Stella Zakharova Cup. Taylor, who trains under head coach Alex Bard at Gymnastics Mississauga, used her powerful piked barani vault to place seventh on the event, while Beiler, 16, finished below his potential on high bar after a fall on his dismount. In earlier all-around competitions, Taylor and Beiler finished 29th (31.762) and 35th (45.900), respectively. Also representing Canada at the Cup, named in honour of the 1980 USSR Olympic team champion Stella Zakharova, were Teri Gibson, who earned Canada's best all-around finish (21st) with a 34.037 score, and Mississauga clubmate Melanie Tham, who finished 28th overall. In the men's competition, Matti Beiler, Mark's twin brother and Abbottsford Twisters teammate, finished 35th with a 45.900 total.

Coach Bard noted that the competition was an important one for his athletes. "The opportunity for the girls to compete on a podium was very valuable for them," said Bard. "This experience will no doubt benefit them in the upcoming competitions."

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