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Archive: January 2002

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JANUARY 27 - GYMN.CA VISITS ONTARIO PROVINCIAL TRAINING CAMP

Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs

On January 19, 2002, Gymn.ca's Leslie Foster traveled to neighboring City of Oshawa to attend day 3 of the year's first provincial training camp, held at Gemini Gymnastics. Gemini's new gymnasium is located on the premises of the Oshawa Airport and this amply equipped facility enabled a full range of training exercises for the province's top gymnasts.

Upon arrival inside the gym, warm greetings were provided by gracious host and head coach of Gemini, Elena Davydova, as well as by head coach Carol-Angela Orchard, who bestowed Gymn.ca the opportunity to photograph the gymnasts at leisure.

At first glance around the gym, it was obvious that the girls were extremely fatigued after training so intensely for two days prior to this Saturday morning session. Nonetheless, they continued with determination, whether on the apparatus or working on their conditioning exercises. A gallery of photos of our hard-working athletes is now available here.


JANUARY 25 - RICHARDSON UNDERGOES SUCCESSFUL BACK SURGERY

National champion Kate Richardson of Coquitlam, B.C. had surgery today to correct an ongoing injury to her back. Richardson, 17, had been dealing with back problems for the last few months of 2001. After much medical examination, it was determined that she needed the surgery to fuse her T12 and L1 vertebrae in order to have the best chance to continue her gymnastics career at the highest level. The surgery "could not have gone better" according to Dr. Bill Mackie, father to current youth national team member Gael Mackie who helped provide assistance to chief surgeon Dr. Marcel Dvorak. Although she will have to miss some up coming competitions, Richardson plans to be able to compete at this summer's Commonwealth Games in Manchester, England. Gymn.ca wishes Richardson the best of success in her recovery, and will continue to provide updates as information becomes available.







JANUARY 20 - MACKIE FOURTH AT WOGA

Gael Mackie

Omega's Gael Mackie had a successful debut in international competition with a fourth-place all-around finish in the junior competition at the WOGA Classic, held Saturday night in Allen, Texas. Competing in a tough field including a number of more experienced athletes, including U.S. junior star Carly Patterson, Mackie impressed with top-eight finishes on three events. Problems on the uneven bars kept her from defeating Australia's Sarah Lauren for the all-around bronze (Mackie scored 34.075 to Lauren's 34.550). Not surprisingly, the gold went to Patterson, who outduelled WOGA teammate Hollie Vise 37.675 to 36.375.

Individually, Mackie's best event was the balance beam, where she scored a 9.275 to take third. A fall on a triple twist on the floor exercise left her in fourth on that apparatus, while a solid tucked full-twisting Yurchenko was good enough to earn Mackie, who turned 13 on December 16th, eighth on vault.

Gymn.ca's Jennifer Isbister attended the WOGA Classic this weekend. Look for further reports on gymn.ca in the coming days.


JANUARY 18 - GYMN.CA PROFILE UPDATES FOR 2002

Gymn.ca is pleased to announce the update of our senior women's artistic profiles for 2002. Over the coming weeks look for gymn.ca to add and update profiles for the junior women and senior men, as well as selected retired athletes. We will also be rounding out senior women's list with the addition of Crystal Gilmore, Amanda Haikilis, and Tracey Rai profiles. In the meantime, we hope you will enjoy the Aubrey Taylor profile, which has now been added.


JANUARY 14 - 2002 CANADIAN ARTISTIC PREVIEW

After a 2001 season that saw a dramatic improvement from the Canadian men's team and a respectable performance from an inexperienced women's team, the year 2002 promises to provide an intriguing mix of competitive opportunities for Canada's best gymnasts. In what could be the busiest year of the quadrennium, competitively speaking, the Canadian teams will be looking to challenge deep international fields in a number of major competitions.

After a quiet first two months of the year, the pace will pick up quickly in March with the resurrection of the Canadian Friendship Tour. Kicking things off from March 8-10 in Montreal, the Gymnix International is expected to attract a strong field of Canadian and international competitors in both the junior and senior women's categories. From there, athletes will travel to the Burlington Spring Cup, which will host FIG-caliber competition the weekend of March 15-17. Finally, athletes will continue to move westward to Edmonton's Wild Rose International, which returns to the Canadian scene after a four-year absence.

Falling on the same weekend as the Spring Cup, Calgary's Jurassic Classic will serve as a dual meet between the Canadian and U.S. men's and women's teams, and should provide an extra competitive opportunity for athletes from Western Canada.

The eyes of the gymnastics world will focus on Canada in the spring when Vancouver hosts the Pacific Alliance Championships from May 3-5. This competition, which has in many ways become the answer to the European Championships for the rest of the world, is expected to feature top-level competitors from the Pacific-bordering countries. Among the nations who traditionally attend this competition, which will feature teams of three for men's and women's senior and junior competitions, include Canada, the United States, China, Australia, and Japan.

Coming hard on the heels of the Pacific Alliance are the 2002 Canadian National Championships, which will begin just weeks later. Scheduled from May 19-25 in Winnipeg, the national championships will include both men's and women's artistic competition at a variety of competitive levels. From there, teams for what will perhaps be Canada's most important competition of the year, the Commonwealth Games, will be selected. With the nation focused on the competition in Manchester, England, Canadian gymnasts will hope for top-level results that will bring much-needed recognition to the sport at home.

Finally, the international competition season will come to a close with the World Championships for Individual Apparatus, to be held from November 20-24 in Debrecen, Hungary. There, athletes will have the opportunity to excel in their specialty events without the pressures of team or all-around competition.

Individually, look for the Canadian women's team to be lead, once again, by Kate Richardson. Now with three top-20 world and Olympic results to her name, Richardson is well-established as one of the best female gymnasts in the world. Now in her final year of secondary school, however, the possibility looms that Richardson will move on to NCAA gymnastics, which makes the search for Canada's next team leader gain greater significance this year. With all six world championship team members still in active competition, plus a handful of new FIG seniors, including Danielle Hicks, Heather Purnell, and Teri Gibson, there will be sufficient depth to work with in the coming year.

For the men, the battle to be Canada's number one athlete should intensify this season. A breakthrough performance by Grant Golding at last year's world championships, as well as international success for David Kikuchi and Ken Ikeda, means less pressure for veterans Alexander Jeltkov and Richard Ikeda. A return to top form by Rhett Stinson, injured in 2001, and Kyle Shewfelt, who missed the world championships as he continues to train his non-specialty events, could certainly be highlights in the next year. The Canadian men now have a core of experienced world-class athletes who will be looking to use the many events in 2002 as building blocks for the all-important Olympic qualifying year in 2003.

As always, look for Gymn.ca to provide the most in-depth, up-to-date coverage possible. Please check our Event Calendar for all the latest competition information.



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