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Archive: July 2002

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JULY 29 - MELOCHE TO JOIN SPORT SENECA

Vanessa Meloche
Photo courtesy of Grace Chiu

Fresh off a triple-medal effort at the Commonwealth Games, Canadian star Vanessa Meloche has announced she will return to train in Canada, this time under the tutelage of 2000 Olympic coach, Carol Angela Orchard, at the Sport Seneca club. Earlier this evening, in an interview granted to the SRC (CBC's French-Canadian affiliate), the 17 year-old announced she is leaving her current club, the U.S.-based Parkettes, to join the Seneca program. At Seneca, she will be closer to national-team coaches during the lead-up to the 2002 and 2003 World Championships.

Meloche enjoyed considerable success at the Parkettes, and expressed her satisfaction with her training in a recent Gymn.ca interview. While at the Parkettes, Meloche competed at the 2002 Maryland Classic, 2002 Parkettes Invitational, U.S. Region 7 zones, the Dragon Invite in Missouri, and the Wild Rose in Edmonton. She also finished third at the 2002 Canadian championships and claimed the gold medal on the uneven bars and the silver on vault.



JULY 29 - COMMONWEALTH GAMES A HUGE SUCCESS FOR CANADIAN GYMNASTS

Kyle Shewfelt
won two gold medals

Photo courtesy of Grace Chiu

The artistic gymnastics competition came to a successful conclusion for the Canadian team today, with a total of eight individual event final medals, bringing the team total to 12 over the entire competition.

After a tough start to the meet, with low rings scores and uneven bars errors resulting in silver for the men and bronze for women's teams, the athletes bounced back with fantastic performances over the following two days. All-around gold was won by British Columbia's Kate Richardson, while Montreal's Alexander Jeltkov took bronze for the men. The all-around medals were Canada's first since Stella Umeh's gold in the women's competition in 1994.

Event finals were the crowning achievement for the Canadians, with three gold medals in total. Olympian Kyle Shewfelt won the gold on floor exercise and vault, while Richardson survived a jittery beam final to take her third medal of the competition. Canada's lone silver medal was won by Haligonian David Kikuchi on the parallel bars, while bronze medals were earned by Vanessa Meloche (vault, uneven bars), Kylie Stone (floor exercise) and Jeltkov (high bar).

The six medals won by the women's team was the most since 1990's eight-medal haul. The men's team also had a higher total medal count (six medals) than 1998, when the team brought home five medals. The Canadian total of 12 medals far surpassed the total of eight medals won four years ago.


JULY 29 - TWO GOLD, FIVE MEDALS FOR CANADA IN ROUND TWO OF EVENT FINALS

Australian Cheylissa Leighton and Daniel York-Smith of England are kindly providing her thoughts on the competition as it unfolds for Gymn.ca. Press "reload" on your browser to view updated results as they become available (every 3 to 10 minutes).

Men's High Bar
Alexander Jeltkov (CAN): good layout Kovacs and tucked Kovacs. nice inside endo to healy to immediate Ono. Oh my! Scary ping! After such a great routine. He just flew off. That could have been a bad injury! His hand guard came undone. 8.900
Kanukai Jackson (ENG): endo top, layout Kovacs, tucked Kovacs (more difficulty than in previous rounds) takemato full. Only did a double layout dismount but nailed it. He is getting the crowd to clap more and taking little bows. He has had a great CWG! The BBC commentator calls him the man of the Games. 8.8-something...
Adam Cox (SCO): only 15 years old. What a shame, came off on changing his hands from inverts. He'd caught a good Gienger and done some nice one arm work. Big triple finish. 7.600
Baz Collie (SCO): Kovacs, break on an inside endo full and on a hop 1 1/2. Good double double straight dismount. 8.775 - Jeltkov still in the lead, despite the fall!
Craig Heap (ENG): Voronin, Takemato 1/2 to Def (very scrapy catch). Nailed layout full out.
Kyle Shewfelt (CAN): Fell on his Def. Repeated and it is good. Beautiful double double straight. He is the most popular male Canadian with the audience - they are very fond of Kyle in England.
Damian Istria (AUS): Hasn't had the best competition. 1-arm turns, slight stall on an inside endo healy. Carballo, but very crooked. Double double straight and a little low. Should go into the lead. 9.075 and the lead.
Phillipe Rizzo (AUS): The only flaws in that routine were a hop on his dismount and a little close on the Def recatch. Gold no doubt. 9.512!
BRONZE FOR JELTKOV! Despite a fall, Jeltkov still manages third to bring Canada's total medal haul to 12!

Women's Floor Exercise
Start order: Lennon, Slater, Slader, Campbell, Owen, Lauren, Purnell, Stone
Katy Lennon (ENG): had a day's rest with no AA; RO, bhs pike full-in, great. I like this music. double pirouette, fine. tour jete full. punch pike step out, ro ff, double pike, step back but okay. tuck double off one leg, to immediate 1 1/2 tuck off one leg. tuck jump double. presenting to the clapping home crowd. RO, immediate 2.5 twist with a bit of a wayward step forward (almost oob). Made all her jumps and spins - good routine! 9.075/9.6.
Allana Slater (AUS): the favourite coming in. RO, whip triple twist - great landing. dramatic dance. RO, bhs, 2 1/2 twist punch layout, best I've seen her do. tour jete full and fell to her knee! slipped on the carpet. double pirouette, tuck jump double stag 1/2 out. front hs, double twist forward, okay step forward. double tuck jump off one foot to the 1 1/2 twisting prone drop. RO, bhs double pike, all but stuck. big finale. looks SO upset that she slipped on the carpet - but will it count as a full fall? 9.187/9.9
Katie Slader (Ireland): hit her routine
Gayle Campbell (SCO): joined mid floor routine. tuck jump double off one leg, and tuck 1 1/2 off one leg. fine. punch tuck step out, front handspring, front full I think. 2 1/2 pirouette (controlled). Lost balance in the corner before this tumble. ro, bhs, 2 1/2 twist. funny little landing, but she controlled it. back spin to her floor ending. her opening double arabian tuck controlled very well. 8.775/9.5
Becky Owen (ENG): ro, bhs, tucked full in - good landing. lovely choreography - so sharp. ro bhs, 2 1/2 twist punch front - very nicely timed and looked SO easy. step forward. She's keeping her cool nicely and the crowd's really into it. tuck 1 1/2 - good positions on jumps. ro, bhs, triple twist. solidish landing. double pirouette to tuck jump double. foot placements weren't ideal. ro, bhs, double pike, step back into her finish pose. Best one she's done and she's gonna outscore Slater. 9.237
Sarah Lauren (AUS): I like this routine of Sarah's. Elegant, really so for her age. ro, bhs, double arabian, little run out but neat. ro, whip whip, bhs, triple twist. fine. double tuck jump off one leg to 1 1/2 off one leg (how popular). front handspring double twist forward. double pirouette, tuck jump double popa - solid, moreso than the last connection. ro, bhs, double pike - controlled step back. Beautiful routine! 9.412
Heather Purnell (CAN): stepped out on her piked full-in and is in 5th with an 8.962
Kylie Stone (CAN): great routine - hit all her elements. Could knock Slater out of the medals...9.212! Third for Kylie!
BRONZE FOR STONE! Gold to Lauren, silver to Owen; Purnell finishes sixth

Men's Parallel Bars
David Kikuchi (CAN): nice L hold, giant to double pike - low, giant to double tuck - better. straddle back was practically along the bar, under the bar element. double pike dismount with step. He tucked his double pike down. 9.150/9.7
John Smethurts (ENG): England has never won a pbar title, Smethurts is the top qualifier. Handstand on the end of the bars. Felder - weak. Tippelt was okay. up to handstand, over to one bar, healy through the centre, and to a second one. double pike with a decent jump forward. pumping his fist and seems happy. 9.112
Alexander Jeltkov (CAN): peach to L-hold, swing through to bent leg up to handstand arching his back. over to one bar, swing down, straddle press up - slow. Two healys, second to upper support. back toss. double pike to a lovely forward roll out!
Phillipe Rizzo (AUS): straddle from side bar press to lovely handstand, 3/4 turn to healy, healy. short felder, giant to double tuck, roll over the underarms. Double pike (very high) to a step back. He's happy, as is his Dad! 9.375/9.9
Baz Collie (SCO): Tippelt. swing through to double tuck, looked like his feet hit the ground. nice straddled Jaegar. double pike with small step. short routine. 8.85/9.4
Kanukai Jackson: good routine, but not enough. Kanukai hit his whole routine bar a minor overbalance on one handstand and a slow press at one stage. shuffles on double pike. Looks like gold for Rizzo. 8.85/9.5
SILVER FOR KIKUCHI! Gold to Rizzo (his fifth medal!), bronze to Smethurts.
During the award ceremony, David nearly mounted the silver medal podium before being called, but Phillipe Rizzo (who has been on the podium a lot this competition!) got his attention and told him to hold on a second. They shared a laugh - a cute moment!

Women's Beam
Start Order: Slater 1st, Richardson 2nd, Willis 3rd, Owen 5th, Dunn 7th, Hicks 8th.
Allana Slater (AUS): hits her frontpike layout from the side mount. full-twisting ff, small wobble; front aerial, very steady, slight pause into ff, layout step out; solid full turn; Rulfova (bit cautious); Onodi, brings it beautifully over the top; small pause to sissone, 1 arm ff (no wobble); two jumps; sideways stance, Shushunova, beautiful; RO, double pike dismount and she stuck it (one foot slightly in front of the other on landing). What a routine! Throws the pressure on the upcoming Richardson. 9.137/9.600
Kate Richardson (CAN): straddle press to handstand mount, stag handstand, not full split, step down to layout, layout - nailed; wobble on change leg ring, missed the connectin to the sissone, and wobble on the straddle 1/2; Omelianchik with big overarch; straddle jump is fine (could do with more split); front aerial, minor wobble, missing connection to the next aerial to Korbut. Looks more hesistant than she's been so far. ff ff to double tuck - one controlled step. Won't get her 10SV. She almost went over the time warning. 9.200/9.7 - Richardson takes the lead.
Nicola Willis (ENG): 7.950 from a 9.3 SV
Katie Slader (Ireland): sissone mount, change leg straddle jump solid; great sheep jump to wolf jump - solid; nice presentation; front somi to stuck landing; bhs step out layout step out, minor wobble. 1 1/4 turn (mini wobble). change leg leap, flexed feet, to a ring jump I think, with even more flexed feet; RO, double twist dismount stuck (slightly sloppy legs). Great work for this girl who crumbled after Holly Murdock was injured and has now risen to the challenge.
Becky Owen (ENG): Front pike mount (mini off balance). change leg leap to straddle jump 1/4 and off the beam she goes. bhs step out, layout step, big side wobble (nearly fell again). front tuck nailed to 3/4 Shushunova (totally lacked split). change leg side leap (lacked split and toe point); nice style on the beam; wolf full, not high enough leg position, but she made it round totally and connected it to a back tuck nailed. RO 2.5 twist dismount with small step. 8.325/9.4
Helen Galashen (SCO): easy mount. change leg leap, tuck jump full well connected. long prep into ff, layout step out (minor wobble). weak choreography. tuck jump/changement jump. another long pause into a low front aerial. split handstand, bent the leg in then stood up. more simple dance connections. RO, 2.5 twist dismount with a step forward. solid routine, but lacking any flair. she's 15 and she's a twin, and her sister is also a gymnast. 8.586/9.2 - good enough for third for now
Jacqui Dunn (AUS): Dunn mount (ro, Onodi), gorgeous, through to sheep jump (better than other rounds) to double stag. front aerial to front walkover - solid. ff to Onodi, fine. front saulto connected very well to a 3/4 Shushunova. Hitting her connetions to go for her 10SV. change leg leap, to wolf 3/4, barely got to the wolf shape and wobbled, held back big time. Dismount: ff, bhs, double tuck (mini step back, standing up straight away to a very solid landing). It was a minor wobble on her Onodi after the ff. And slight split in her double tuck. SV 9.5, 8.912 score. Jacqui's stunned and coach Peggy Liddick has stood up and has walked off screen - she doesn't know what's going on with the scores.
Danielle Hicks (CAN): Unfortunately, Australian TV cut away to commercial before Danielle, so we only know her score: 8.762. Good enough for fourth!
GOLD FOR RICHARDSON! Silver to Slater, bronze to Dunn.

Men's Vault
Julian Witbooi: Tsuk double tuck - walked off limping. Way off to the right with a splayed tuck. Started in the most open tuck and had to split it to try and land, but was never going to make it well that open. - just young, and commentator says they say he has tremendous talent. Just 16 years old! Second vault: Handspring double front. Good height and AMAZING distance (almost made the end of the matting). First sault had a neat tuck but it slowly split and opened in shape. Landed with his feet way out in front and went down to his butt.
Kanukai Jackson (ENG): handspring double front (Roche). Great height and distance, but opened out a touch early and landed low stepping back. 9.281
Kyle Shewfelt (CAN): Yurchenko with 2 1/2 twists. Gorgeous form, good lift - gorgeous wrap shape. Small step forward; in the tram lines, slight leg separation. 9.650. Second vault - stepped to the side, out of the lines on a Tsuk double twist. Good distance, in fact great distance - just lacking a touch of height. Good form again, but split legs. 9.237 (I think). Leading so far.
GOLD FOR SHEWFELT! Alexander Jeltkov finishes eighth.


JULY 29 - SHEWFELT STRIKES GOLD; TWO MEDALS FOR MELOCHE

The first half of men's and women's event finals were a success for Canada, with a total of three medals won over five events. Calgary's Kyle Shewfelt gave a dominant performance on men's floor exercise, scoring a 9.637 to win the gold medal by more than three tenths of a point. "Kyle was such a treat this morning," said official Canadian photographer Grace Chiu. He totally outclassed the rest on floor." Shewfelt has previously won medals on the floor exercise at the 2000 World Cup finals, as well as numerous international Grand Prix events. Teammate Grant Golding struggled with his routine, scoring 8.025 for eighth.

Vanessa Meloche
vaulted to bronze

Photo courtesy of Grace Chiu

The first women's final of the day, vault, featured newly crowned women's champion Kate Richardson and Quebec native Vanessa Meloche. The event was won by Australia's best gymnast, Allana Slater, who scored a 9.268 average for a Yurchenko with 1 1/2 twists and a piked Luconi. Teammate Alexandra Croak, who struggled greatly during the all-around finals, finished second with a 9.099 average. In a close battle for the medals, Meloche, 17, averaged 9.093 for her Yurchenko full (8.987) and piked front-1/2 (9.200) to miss the silver medal by just 0.006. Fourth was Richardson, who vaulted a tucked Luconi (8.912) and Yurchenko full (9.062) for an 8.987 average.

Men's pommel horse featured a surprise winner in Phillipe Rizzo of Australia (9.162), who already has four medals at these Commonwealth Games. England's star Kanukai Jackson, known affectionately to his fans as "Kaj", was second (9.062), followed by Malaysia's Yik Siang Loke (9.062). Golding, in his second final of the day, rebounded well from floor exercise to score a 8.975 for fourth, while ALTA's David Kikuchi finished seventh with an 8.150 score.

Women's uneven bars was pegged to be a battle between Slater and England's Beth Tweddle, and both lived up to their advance billing. In the end, the home town girl, Tweddle, took the gold by the smallest of margins over Slater, 9.550 to 9.537. Canada earned its third medal of the session on a very strong performance by Meloche, who overcame a slight error on a toe-on 1 1/2 pirouette to score a 9.337. For Meloche it was her fourth score over 9.0 in four routines at the Games (she competed only vault and uneven bars in the team competition). Fifth went to all-around finalist Kylie Stone of the Stampede City club (8.787).

The session concluded with men's rings, and resulted in the first shared title of the competition when Herodotos Girogallas of Cyprus and Scotland's Steve Frew tied with a 9.462. Canadian rings specialist David Kikuchi finished sixth with a 9.175 score.

Canada's results were especially impressive, considering the team competed with virtually no warm-up. The start time of the first session of event finals was pushed back by two hours, but the information apparently did not reach the Canadian delegation. When the team arrived at the gym, they had to make do with only minutes of warm-up before the first events got underway.

Men's and women's event finals conclude today, with competition scheduled to begin at 1:00 pm EST. Check back with Gymn.ca for quick hits of the final five individual events!


JULY 28 - KUDOS TO KATE: GOLD AT COMMONWEALTH GAMES

Kate Richardson
2002 CWG AA Champion
Photo courtesy of Grace Chiu

Final Standings:
1. Kate Richardson (CAN) - 36.750
2. Beth Tweddle (ENG) - 36.387
3. Allana Slater (AUS) - 36.362
4. Sarah Lauren (AUS) - 35.687
5. Heather Purnell (CAN) - 35.400
6. Nicola Willis (ENG) - 35.150
7. Becky Owen (ENG) - 34.900
8. Kylie Stone (CAN) - 34.500

Quote of the Day: Kate's beam was a work of art.

Canada playing it easy on vault? During team, Purnell competed a layout Yurchenko full even though she's capable of a 1.5 Yurchenko. Today in the AA, Stone threw a layout Yurchenko full when her backfullon-pike was good in training.

A surprise for Kate? Kate Richardson did not appear for the medals with the goose jersey. She wasn't expecting a medal, given yesterday's performance, that she "didn't even bring her podium gear. I'll get in trouble for that [giggles]...."



JULY 28 - QUICK HITS: WOMEN'S AA UNDERWAY IN MANCHESTER

Daniel York-Smith is kindly providing Gymn.ca with quick hits of the meet. Press the "refresh" button on your browser for live updates!

Owen (ENG) on FX: Full-in and a touch down What a shame. 2 1/2 punch front, nailed. Love the choreography. Cat leap double to cat leap 1 1/2. Nice triple twist for Owen. Better than usual. Double spin to tuck 1 1/2 (supposed to be double). Nice double pike finish. What a shame, she might have caught Slater with that. She is crying. 8.35 for Becky Owen, and 7th.

Purnell (CAN) on BB: Pike front, switch leap wolf 3/4, big0ish break, same as yesterda. Free walkover and small wobble. Tuck back. Jump (I missed it but it was solid). Nice landing on a front tuck. Flic layout small step. 1/2 twist with a nice landing! 8.475.

9.05 for Tweddle for silver. KATE IS THE 2002 COMMONWEALTH GAMES CHAMPION!

Tweddle (ENG) on FX: Arabian double tuck/pike. Nice dance. 1 1/2 through to triple. Little short, but no movement. Cat leap double. Double spin. Just this last tumble. Come on Beth! Great 2 1/2 twist to finish! Crowd loves it. It is gonna be close.

Tweddle needs 9.413 for gold and 9.025 for silver. Purnell needs like a 9.337 to tie Slater...

Campbell (Scotland) on BB: Flic tuck back, nailed landing (where she fell yesterday). Big switch leap. Huge front with quite a big pace, but she stayed on. Only to loose it on a jump! What a shame. Great layout gainer from a run forward. 7.65.

Slater (AUS) on BB: Piked front to rear support. Flic full better than yesterday. Free walkover with a wobble. Flic layout. Korbut full and a technical fall. She almost came off. I think it is gone. Onodi. Switch leap to 1-arm flic but might not have got the combo. Nice 1/1 Shushunova on the side. Double pike with a nice landing. 8.75, for 36.262 total.

Slater (AUS) has a major break on BB. On her Korbut full she slipped sideways although she stayed on; and in the middle of the routine she had a big balance break and broke a connection.

Slater needs 9.187 to win. Tweddle needs 9.413 to tie for gold.

Richardson (CAN) on UB: Geinger roll to inverts, 1/2 turn to tkatchev. Clear to HS to pac. Giant full to tkatchev. Nice double layout with a small hop. That could be good enough! 9.050 from 9.4.

Willis (ENG) on V: Piked front half. Much better than in the team competition. Step back but landed with her chest fairly upright. 9.15. Vault 2 - Superb Kasamatusu! Really nice shape and a small step on the landing. 9.1 for second vault.

Stone (CAN) on V: Layout yurchenko. Clean with a step and a slight spilt of the legs on. 8.725. Vault 2 yurchenko full - 8.975.

Lauren (AUS) on FX: Double arabian, hop forward (only small though). This time I think I can say her triple twist was under-rotated safely. As were her cat leap double to 1 1/2. Front double twist. Good leap series, missed the first but 2nd was tuck jump double to popa. Double pike, low landing (had to bend her knees) but she didn't move! Not as good as yesterday by a long way. But 9.5?! The BBC commentators are calling it nonsense.

Rotation 4 begins!

Purnell on bars - Sole circle ot HS. Giant full to geinger with a leg seperation. Bail to HS to toe shoot. Just landed her full-in off bars! She had her chest low and had to step forward but a great save as it didn't look like it would quite make it. 8.75, so currently in 4th .4 behind England's Tweddle.

Tweddle (ENG) on BB: Piked front. Made her opening combo. Switch leap, switch leap 1/2 to 3/4 shushunova, front to korbut. Going well. Wolf full and nailed. Much better than yesterday. Only the dismount to go... 2 1/2 twist and a small jump to the side. Awesome job Beth! 8.9 from 9.4.

Tweddle is currently Kate's biggest rival for gold.

Croak (AUS) on FX: Big double arabian to sit down. Gogean to popa looked like it was just round. Front to 2 1/2, nice landing this time. Cat leap double to cat leap 1 1/2 and she wasn't round the 1 1/2. Double pike with a good landing, but she split her legs on the double pike.

Croak (AUS) falls on FX.

Victoria Martin (NIR) on BB: Flic layout solid. Switch leap. Good wolf full. Going well. Front somie and saved under-rotation well. Change leg side. Good rudi to finish.

Slater (AUS) on UB: Slater UB - jump to HS 1/2 to toe shoot. Clear blind to jaeger to pac (bad back in the catch from the jaeger and lowish pac). Good hop full to geinger (still soft back on the catch). Nice giant full to full-in dismount. 9.55.

Willis (ENG) on FX: Triple spin not quite. Double layout a teeny bit short. Really high tucked full in. Good popa to tuck jump double. Crowd really getting into the Riverdance music. Piked front through to a 2 1/2 twist good landing. Crowd goes wild! Not sure it'll score well because she doesn't have all the dance combos in there.

Richardson(CAN) on V: Richardson vault - piked Luconi and she was very crooked. I htink the judges were worried she was gonna land on them! She had a couple of steps back as well. The whole thing landed outside the lines. What a shame. Hope the second vault is better. 8.875 from 9.7. Vault 2 - yurchenko full. Great body position and a small jump on landing. 8.975 for Richardsons second vault. 8.925 average.

Stone (CAN) on FX: Better double turn with leg horizontal than yesterday. Tucked full-in with a small step to the front. Popa to tuck jump 1 1/2 (think she wanted a double). Gogean. Double arabian and just not enough height. Cat leap double to cat leap 1 1/2. Whip to double pike, good landing given it looked like the whip was not quite on. 8.675 from 9.7. (Note: She got 8.25 on beam last rotation).

Lauren (AUS) on BB: Flic full, flic layout (not quite connected and she's off on the layout). Side somie and a very minor adjustment. 1/1 shushunova on the side. Free walkover and on today. Switch leap to tuck jump full. Rulfova (nice rhythm to it). Nice double tuck with a little jump. 8.475.

Lauren (AUS) falls off beam!

Renay Jones (Wales) on UB: Doing well so far she got 8.75 on beam and 8.525 on vault. Geinger and falls off. What a shame. She was right there as well. Giant full, bail to HS to toe shoot. Double pike dismount that stalled and had quite a jump forward.7.35, but 25.725 so far.

Owen (ENG) on BB: Piked front and a balance check. Switch leap to popa (better than yesterday). Flic layout small dip of shoulders. Front to 3/4 shushunova. Change leg to side. Very controlled full spin. Wolf jump full with a balance break (medium to small). Nailed double twist dismount. 8.625

Current standings, at the end of Rotation 2: Richardson (1st with 18.775), Tweddle (2nd with 18.475), Purnell (3rd).

Croak (AUS) falls off BB.

Campbell (Scotland) on V: Piked front. Pretty flighted. 8.925. Vault 2 - Piked front half and lands nice and upright. Good vault. 9.1 for Campbell's second vault. 9.012 average.

Slater (AUS) on V: Decent piked Luconi, with great landing. 9.225 Vault 2 - Yurchenko 1 1/2, a little close to the vault and a bit under-rotated so she had to step back. She twists pretty early off the top, which I think affected her lift. 9.15, so 9.187 average.

Willis (ENG) on BB: Switch leap to 1-arm flic. Tuck jump full, front somie nailed. Change leg side, Popa and the first wobble. Flic Layout foot almost off the beam but she saved it pretty quickly. Double tuck with a pace forward. Better than yesterday for most of it, but the larger wobble on the layout. 8.100

Richardson (CAN) on FX: Double arabian. whip flic triple twist! Not quite round and a step to the side. Good effort though. Love the choreography. Strug to cat leap double to switch ring. Double spin to tuck jump double, not quite round. Double pike and very close to stepping out. 9.175.

Lauren (AUS) on UB: Jump 1/2 to HS to toe shoot. Clear circle to HS full to geinger (split legs) also rather split legs on her pac. Clear circle blind to jaeger. Kim and doesn't get her second hand on and off the bar! Oh my! Remounts and does a good double front 1/2 out. All the Aussies are feeling the pressure. 8.625

Owen (ENG) on UB: Giant full to geinger, slight arm bend. Stalder 1 1/2 to healy to endo healy. Bail to HS (not in HS). Good double layout with a tiny landing error. Overall not as good as yesterday, but endo healy swung better today. 8.975/9.6.

Tweddle (ENG) on UB: Giant full to geinger, caught on straight arms, good kim to healy to Ono. Bail to HS to toe shoot (again caught on starigh arms). Blind to markelov. Great full-out toes pointed and a tiny hop (not quite stuck). Better than yesterday though. 9.475.

Purnell (CAN) on V: Yurchenko full, a little piked and a small pace. Good lift though! 8.975/9.4 Vault 2: Yurchenko 1 1/2 with a small step forward. Better body position than the full. 9.275/9.7 for her second vault.

Purnell just warmed up a great 1.5 Yurchenko

Willis (ENG) on UB: Giant full to geinger, geinger vey close. Kim to healy to back straddle to HS (better than yesterday). Great double layout dismount. She looks relieved. 8.775 form 9.3.

Slater (AUS) on FX: Whip to triple twist, slight step to the side. Oh no! 2 1/2 punch layout to seat! Double spin to tuck jump double, nice. Double twisting front with quite a large lunge forward. Good cat leap double to khorkina. Good double pike, but foot very nearly out. 8.875 from 9.9.

Richardson (CAN) on BB: Great layout, layout from HS. Amazing switch ring, ring jump change leg side leap, saved a slightly arched HS from her Omelianchick (hardly noticeable) This is gonna be a huge score if she can keep it going. Great free-walkover free walkover to koburt combo. Just the dismount...Two flics to double tuck nailed! Awesome! Kate scores a 9.6!

Stone (CAN) on UB: Nice jaeger, great bail to HS to toe shoot, small step on the double front, but not much room for deductions there. 8.725 out of 9.3.

Lauren (AUS) on V: Tucked Luconi. Again not quite round on the full but great lift in the tuck off. Flexed feet and could have done with extending from the tuck. But nice vault. Very square. 9.0 from 9.5. 2nd vault - tried to go for a layout, but piked down quite a lot. 9,175/9.7 so 9.087 average.

Owen (ENG) on V: Hristakieva. New vault for her. A little piked and a little lock legged landing. Apparently never competed it before as her coach is one of the commentators. 8.?? Vault 2: piked front a little stumble forward. 8.95 for both vaults.

Tweddle (ENG) on V: Piked front 1/2, good turn but a little low compared to yesterday and a mdeium sized pace back. 9.0 dead, a little high compared to yesterday where she got the same for a better vault. 2nd vault - straight full twisting tsukahara. Little piked and a step to the side but inside the lines. 8.925 so 8.962 average.

Purnell (CAN) on FX: Beautiful piked full-in, front full front full, second a teeny bit low, better tuck jump double than yesterday, same with the switch ring ct 2/2 ct 1 1/2, again the weird RO 1 1/2 pass. Great triple spin! Double pike with a great landing! Audience like it a lot. 9.05 from 9.8, which is her maximum SV with the 2 1/2 twist taken out.

Croak (AUS) on UB: Cast 1 1/2 to bail, to sole circle to HS full and an error on a giant half. She comes off after a free swing. Giant full to Arabian double dismount. I think that cost her her medal. 7.675

Campbell (Scotland) on FX: Front double twist, enormous double arabian, just undercooked, ct leap 2/2 to 3/2 front to HS front full, great double spin (very precise) double twist with a bit of a jump, tuck jump double. A little nervy, but well done Gayle. 8.575 from 9.4

JULY 28 - FORMER GYMNAST DANA ELLIS QUALIFIES TO FINALS AT CWG

Former Canadian elite gymnast Dana Ellis is among a surprisingly large list of athletes to pick up pole vaulting after gymnastics. Current World Champion Russian Svetlana Feofanova was a member of Russia's national gymnastics team, training under 1988 Olympic champion Elena Shevchenko. Other gymnasts-turned-pole vaulters include Germany's 1995 World team member Katrin Kuehnert and the Czech Republic's Daniela Bartova.

After injuries forced Ellis to quit gymnastics, she picked up pole vaulting. "I tried all sorts of sports after gymnastics in particular rugby and swimming," Ellis told the Canadian Commonwealth Games Association. "I hadn’t really heard of women’s pole vault but I loved it right away. Certainly my gymnastics skills really helped me ease into the sport. I already had the upper body strength and I knew where I was all the time when I was in the air."

Today in Manchester, Dana Ellis easily qualified to pole vault finals.


JULY 28 - JELTKOV MEDALS IN MANCHESTER AT COMMONWEALTH GAMES

Jeltkov medals
Photo courtesy of Grace Chiu

The men's AA was contested this morning in Manchester. Jeltkov vaulted Yurchenko double twist for 9.3. Jeltkov moved on to parallel bars, showing a Biloserchev to one bar float and lift, from one bar Healy to Healy and double pike back. Scoring 9.2 (SV 9.5) prompted the British Amateur Gymnastics Association to ask, "Could he be the new Commonwealth Champion?"

On his third event, the 1998 CWG apparatus champion swung HB cleanly, showing Endo to Healy, Kovacs piked, hop giant, stoop Endo Healy to elgrip and full turn, double straight full to dismount. Crowds were tickled by the back giant with hop! Jeltkov appealed his original score, in the end receiving a 9.2.

Jeltkov retained his lead after floor, moving on to pommel horse. He made Magyar, Shivado to flop into a complete flop, off the apparatus. The 8.05 more than gave away the lead he'd enjoyed throughout the meet. Inspired, England Kanukai Jackson took advantage of the opportunity with an apparant runaway lead, 46.2 for Jackson to Jeltkov's 45.15.

Moving to rings for the sixth and final rotation, it looked like Australia's Phillipe Rizzo (moving to HB, his best apparatus) might overtake Jeltkov for silver. Kanukai Jackson nailed his high bar routine, catching his releases and sticking the dismount. The standard set (55.025), Rizzo performed to ability on bars, nailing his double double. He finished with 53.85. With pressure on full blast, Jeltkov mounted rings. He showed slightly hollow handstands, but a billiant triple dismount to end. He scored 8.5, good enough for bronze (53.65).

Canada's other entrant, David Kikuchi, did not fare as well as in the team portion. He fell on vault, unable to get good contact with the horse, and had to play "catch up" throughout the event. But he was hot rings - Canada's weakest event - for a 9.15. The routine was highlighted by a Maltese to planche to inverted cross. Kikuchi finished the meet in 7th place, with 51.825.

In other news, a surprise of the meet was Malaysia's 17-year-old Shu Wai Ng, who was in second position following each of the first two rotations. He finished 4th overall, just under 1 full point behind Jeltkov. England's Craig Heap finished with a 52.625, a good competition for him compared to yesterday, although he fell on his triple back dismount off rings. He placed 5th overall. Australia's Damian Istria had a much better day today, with no falls. Especially pleased not to repeat his earlier falls off pommels, he commented to BBC that, "at least it's not a 6!" Istria placed 6th overall.

For full results, please click here.


JULY 26 - CANADIAN MEN SETTLE FOR SILVER

With their sights firmly set on the gold medal, the Canadian men had to settle for silver in the team competition at the Commonwealth Games today. Weak rings and errors on floor exercise prevented the 1998 bronze medallists from moving up on the eventual champions from England, who outscored the Canadians, 162.075 to 161.350.

The competition was lost for Canada very early on, after a 25.450 total on rings left them in fifth place after one event. Although they fought valiantly to climb to second place after four rotations, errors on their fifth event, floor exercise, prevented the team from completing their comeback.

Leading the way for the men was Nova Scotia's David Kikuchi, who posted the third-highest all-around total of the day with a 53.375. Teammate Alexander Jeltkov, who finished fifth all-around at the 1998 Games, was fourth-best at 53.000. England's Kanukai Jackson had an outstanding day for the home team, taking only one score below 9.0 en route to a 55.050 total, while Australia's Philippe Rizzo was second with 54.250.

Top individual event results came from Calgary's Kyle Shewfelt, who was awarded the highest score of the day on any apparatus (9.625) for his Yurchenko with 2 1/2 twists on vault. Also notable was Jeltkov's high bar result (9.450) and Shewfelt's floor score (9.500).


JULY 26 - COMMONWEALTH GAMES UNDERWAY

The XVII Commonwealth Games officially got underway today with the first rounds of competition in numerous sports, including artistic gymnastics. The men's team competition has already begun, with Scotland edging out a rapidly improving Indian team for the early lead. The top teams, including Canada, will take the floor shortly.

David Kikuchi

The men's competition is expected to be an exciting one, with Canada the odds-on favourite to take the gold medal. Led by all-arounders Alexander Jeltkov and David Kikuchi, the Canadians will field a deep and experienced team with very few weaknesses. British Columbia's Richard Ikeda will be making his fourth Commonwealth Games appearance, and looking to add to his seven-medal haul from previous Games.

"We have been training hard and we are really ready to fight for the gold," said vault, floor, and high bar specialist Kyle Shewfelt, "It will be a close competition between England, Australia and us, but I think that if we hit then we will come out on top."

The teams from Australia and England also boast their share of stars, including world high bar silver medallist Philippe Rizzo of Australia, and European Championship vault bronze medallist Kanukai Jackson of England.

The CBC will air the men's team competition during tonight's broadcast from 8:00 to 10:00 pm. For complete competition schedules and results, visit the official Commonwealth Games site. To browse Canada's previous results at the Commonwealth Games, click here.


JULY 25 - BRUBAKERS RETURN TO SARNIA

Dave Brubaker and Melanie Rocca

Former Burlington Gymnastics Club head coaches Dave and Elizabeth Brubaker have officially signed a multi-year contract with the new Bluewater Gymnastics Club in Sarnia Ontario, returning to the club that they worked at for 16 years prior to being laid off in February 2000.

"We appreciated the opportunity to be able to work in Burlington, and we will really miss the girls," said Dave Brubaker, "The Board of Directors was very supportive and helpful during the time that we were there. It was an excellent experience for our family and the athletes who followed us."

The Bluewater Gymnastics Club is under new management and has hired Dave as the Club Director, and Elizabeth as the Competitive Head Coach. The Brubakers returned to Sarnia on special terms that separated the Bluewater from other possible clubs.

Earlier this month, the Bluewater Gymnastics Club celebrated the opening of a brand new facility built in conjunction with the City of Sarnia. The new facility is part of a multi sport park that boasts several soccer pitches and baseball diamonds, as well as a 17,000 square foot building specifically designed with the latest features for gymnastics.

The Brubakers' return to Sarnia was somewhat unexpected after two years with the Burlington Gymnastics Club. "When we left we never had any intentions of ever going back to Sarnia," said Elizabeth Brubaker, "However we knew after 18 months in Burlington that we were not the right people for the job. The harder we tried the more it became obvious."

Local residents had the opportunity to welcome the Brubakers, as well as athletes Melanie Rocca and Abby Pearson, as they participated in Sarnia's Canada Day parade entry by the Bluewater Club. Former national team member Pearson will train for one month in Bluewater's new facility, then will depart for the University of Arizona on August 16th. "I regard my experience in Burlington as a stepping-stone, which has prepared me to move to Arizona," said Pearson, 19, "I am happy to see the new gym it is something we have always dreamed about."

For Rocca, moving home has meant the opportunity to be reunited with her family while allowing her to continue to train for the 2003 World Championships and 2004 Olympic Games. Robert Rocca, Melanie's father, professed he has "no regrets after making what was the hardest decision of my life," in allowing Melanie to move away from home two years ago. He says that he is happy to have his daughter home and thinks the Bluewater Club is "lucky to have Dave and Liz back". He also expressed relief in the Brubakers' choice to move back to Sarnia because "Melanie would have followed wherever they were going."

Although the future of the renowned Bluewater International is unknown, it has been suggested that it will be held in late 2002 or early 2003. The popular event was hosted by the Bluewater Club for five years and boasted the participation of numerous world and Olympic medallists, including Olympic champions Amy Chow of the United States and Yelena Zamolodchikova of Russia. The event was postponed in 2000 shortly after the departure of the Brubakers from Sarnia.


JULY 23 - SANDERS QUALIFIES FOR U.S. NATIONALS, PONDERS FUTURE

Mary Sanders

With a recent decision by the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC, formerly the COA) dictating that Canadian athletes qualifying for the Olympic Games as individuals must be ranked in the top 12 in the world to compete, Canadian rhythmic champion Mary Sanders is re-considering her future with the national team. A dual citizen of Canada and the United States (her late father was a gymnast and coach in the U.S.), Sanders has the option of competing for either country in the Olympic Games.

This weekend, Sanders tested the waters in the U.S. system for the first time, placing third all-around at the U.S. Western qualifier, earning her a place at the upcoming U.S. Championships. There Sanders, 16, will square off against U.S. number one Jessica Howard, whom Sanders defeated for five gold medals at the recent Pacific Alliance Championships.

Clearly overwhelmed the complexity of the situation and impact of her decision, Sanders, who represents Toronto's Ritmika Club, told Gymn.ca, "this whole situation is very new and crazy right now. But I will say that I am going to compete at the [U.S.] nationals in August because I am an American citizen and my father was a gymnast for the U.S. as well...and due to family reasons as well as the new COC rule I feel this is best for me at this point in time.

"I appreciate everything Canada has ever done for me and I won't make any final decisions until later when hopefully the COC situation is final with no changes, and when I know in my heart what to do."

2002 Pacific Alliance Champion
Photo courtesy of Don Johnson

Sanders' decision could have a major impact on Canada's representation in rhythmic gymnastics at the 2004 Olympic Games. With team qualification unlikely (only the top five countries at the World Championships qualify a full team), the Canadians will be looking to qualify an individual athlete either by achieving a top-19 all-around finish at the World Championships, or by receiving a continental wild card berth (one athlete will be selected by the International Gymnastics Federation to represent all of the Americas). In 2000, that berth was secured by Pan American Games champion Emilie Livingston, who now competes for Canada's group program. At the 2001 World Championships, Sanders finished 20th overall.

Gymnastics Ontario's athlete representative, and former Canadian champion, Erika-Leigh Stirton expressed frustration mixed with hope that the situation would be resolved. "I'm disappointed by this situation, and that Mary would have to look elsewhere because the rules are so stringent that her dream seems like an impossibility, [even] when it's not. However, Rhythmic Gymnastics Canada (RGC) and those involved are working in collaboration with the COC to develop fair standards, and the top-12 rule isn't in stone. It is meant to ensure that Canadian athletes are in contention and among the top [at the Olympics]."

RGC President Adrienne Arnold also stressed the collaborative effort between the RGC and the COC in a recent post to the RGC's Message Board. "The people at COC whom I have talked to are supportive and wanting our athlete to make it, and we will work closely together and do everything we can in assisting Mary to reach her goal. It must be made clear that qualification is not a strict 12th at worlds but entails looking at a series of competitions over a one to two year period and analyzing both Mary's results and comparing her results to similarly ranked international athletes...this is not a 'black and white' 12th place requirement by any means."

With backlash against Sanders among U.S. rhythmic supporters possible, Stirton was hopeful that all involved would realize the value in Sanders' participation in upcoming U.S. competitions. "I know some people in the U.S. feel that Mary is taking away someone's spot, however Mary's participation in the U.S. Western Championships, and possibly National Championships, is simply a U.S. citizen participating in a sport she loves. Friendly and healthy competition between the U.S. and Canada can only increase the level of rhythmic gymnastics in both of our countries.

"Mary is the strongest athlete in North America right now, but that does not guarantee that she will represent either country," Stirton added, "but it does mean that all athletes will have a strong fight."

To learn more about the COC decision and its implications for Canadian athletes, please visit the Canadian Olympic Committee website, or the following message boards: Mario Lam's Message Board, Rhythmic Gymnastics Canada, and RSG Net.


JULY 16 - MEN'S COMMONWEALTH TEAM FINALIZED

Following an intensive 10 day training camp at the ALTA club in Halifax, Novia Scotia, Gymnastics Canada named 1999 world high bar silver medallist Alexander Jeltkov of Montreal as the fifth competing team member for the upcoming Commonwealth Games, bumping Albertan upstart Brandon O'Neil to the alternate position. Jeltkov, the defending Commonwealth champion in the high bar, will add valuable competitive experience to the men's line-up. Other competing team members include national all-around champion Richard Ikeda, world team members David Kikuchi and Grant Golding, and 2000 Olympian Kyle Shewfelt.

Men's national coach Edouard Iarov has high hopes for this team, saying "the gymnasts will be performing new routines that they plan to use at the 2003 World Championships." As for a possible result at these Commonwealth Games, he added: "With all going according to plan we feel our team has a good chance to bring home the gold."

Junior men's national team member Matthew Ryan attended one of the men's team's control tests at ALTA, and he shared some details of their performances on our message board. Click here to read more about the men's team's preprations.


JULY 16 - ARSENAULTS LEAVE ORTONA, OPEN CHAMPIONS GYMNASTICS

Michel Arsenault and Valerie Oudin, head coaches at Edmonton's Ortona Gymnastics Club, have announced they will leave Ortona and open a new club, known as Champions Gymnastics, beginning this August. The new club, which will be privately owned, is the realization of a long-standing dream.

"For many coaches, opening their own gym is the dream. For Valerie and I, after all these years, it has become obvious that this was the only way to go," Arsenault told Gymn.ca. "First and foremost, Valerie and I have a responsibility towards our two children, Sara and Frederic. Securing their future and ours is the number one priority. Our decision has been a long time coming and it is a very well-researched and well-prepared one. This was not a sudden decision."

Gering with coach Valerie Oudin
Photo courtesy Heather Maynez

Arsenault also stressed that private gym ownership could be the wave of the future for Canadian coaches. "American coaches figured this out a long time ago. More and more Canadian coaches are starting to follow in their footsteps. We are now hoping to enjoy the freedom to make our own decisions; we are hoping to enjoy the prospects of the future and the peace of mind that comes with the ability to answer to yourself."

Arsenault also indicated that national team member Amanda Gering will follow her long-time coaches to Champions Gymnastics, which will be located in Edmonton. She is currently enjoying a summer vacation, then will begin training for the upcoming World Championships at her new gym early next month. Champions will open its doors to a limited number of high-calibre athletes, with a focus on continued excellence in coaching and the development of High Performance athletes striving for the World Championships and Olympic Games.

The departure of the Arsenaults means the future of the popular, and recently resurrected Wild Rose International is uncertain. "The Wild Rose was a labour of love for me and Valerie. To have run four editions of that meet is something we are very proud of. We are also very tired. Anybody who has ever run a meet of this size will agree," Arsenault commented. "As for the future, it's anybody's guess."

After eight years at the Ortona club, the Arsenaults will leave behind a number of close friends and associates. "Ortona has been a great learning experience and we thank all of the people who have helped us since 1994. We sank our souls into that club and believed in it all the way. We are very proud of what we have accomplished while at that club, but we know that the time has come to move on. We wish Ortona all the best of luck in the future. I want to say thanks to many of our gymnastics and personal friends out there, who really helped us through all of this. They know who they are."


JULY 15 - CANADA 12TH AT RHYTHMIC WORLDS

Team Canada performing their mixed routine

On the second day of competition the Canadian group performed a strong mixed routine (2 balls, 3 ropes) for the ninth highest score of the day (21.325). This, combined with their score from day 1, gave the Canadians a total of 40.975, good enough for sole possession of 12th place.

Although they did not make the cut of eight teams to the final Sunday, the Canadian girls were pleased with their performance. "Our goals weren't for any particular placing. We just wanted to do put down two good routines and we delivered that. All season we were underscored, we worked hard together, and it paid off," Emilie Livingston said after the competition. "We have Worlds next year to qualify for the Olympics. We have to place in the top 8 or 1st in the continent (Americas). We have to beat Brazil next time. We've only been together for 5 months and Brazil has been together since at least '99 Pan Am Games. We are very close to being able to make it. Today we were so close to making finals in rope and ball." Canada narrowly missed the 8th finals qualification spot for their mixed routine, losing out to Poland by only .075 points.

"This was amazing, amazing. I've never experienced anything quite like this before," said Kayla Tidridge, Canada's youngest team member. "I think we performed our ball and rope routine strongly today and did better than yesterday."

Russia won the all around event here, scoring 25.550 in the group ribbon routine for a total of 49.050. They were closely followed by Belarus at 47.675, then Greece with 47.400.

To visit the official World Championship website, click here. To learn more about the Canadian rhythmic group team, visit their official website here.


Team Canada

JULY 13 - CANADIANS ON THE BALL IN NEW ORLEANS

Canada is currently tied for 12th place with a score of 19.650 points at the Rhythmic World Championships with neighbouring United States following day 1 of the competition. The group demonstrated their prowess with their dramatic ribbon routine as did the group from the United States.

Russia leads all countries with a total of 25.550 points. Hard on Russia's heels is the group from Greece (25.300), followed by Belarus (24.725), and Bulgaria (24.300). The top four groups competed with mixed apparatus consisting of two balls and three ropes.


JULY 12 - CANADIAN GROUP HOPEFUL FOR RHYTHMIC WORLDS

The Canadian rhythmic gymnastics group team is headed to the World Group Championships, which are being held this weekend in New Orleans, with high hopes for a top performance.

Emilie Livingston

The group, which has their sites set on Olympic qualification for 2004, features some of Canada's top individual rhythmic stars, including 2000 Olympian Emilie Livingston and multiple national medallist Irina Funtikova. Other team members include Vancouver's Roxana Cervantes, Edmonton's Kayla Tidridge, and Winnipeg's Shannon Smith and Katherine Iafolla.

"I can't speak for all of us, but I would definitely say that one of our goals is to go out there and feel satisfied with a good performance that both the judges and the audience will enjoy," Tidridge told gymn.ca this week. "We are training very hard right now and putting in many hours to make everything the very best possible!"

With the top eight teams from next year's World Championships earning automatic qualification to the Olympic Games (other teams can qualify through a wild card process), the Canadian women will be using this competition to gauge their progress against the other teams. At the 1999 World Championships, the Canadian group placed 13th, failing to qualify for the 2000 Olympic Games. For many, this is the first major meet competing as a group, rather than as an individual.

"My feelings differ from an individual competition because, in an individual competition there is much more pressure because all eyes are on just you, and with group it's the whole team as a whole," Tidridge said, "I'm very excited just because this is going to be an amazing competition with many talented groups."

Competition begins tonight at 7:00 pm with each participating team performing the first of two routines. The apparatus being contested at this year's World Championships include 5 ribbons and 3 ropes/2 balls (apparatus changes each year). Routines are scored out of 30 points, with separate judging panels awarding 10 points each for artistry, execution, and difficulty.

Each team consists of six athletes, and all six are required to perform in at least one of the two preliminary routines. The team with the highest total after the two nights of competition wins the all-around competition, while the top eight routines from each apparatus advance to a separate event finals competition on Sunday at 4:00 pm.

To visit the official World Championship website, click here. To learn more about the Canadian rhythmic group team, visit their official website here.


JULY 11 - INTERVIEW WITH NATIONAL CHAMP DANIELLE HICKS

Danielle Hicks

On June 27, 2002, Gymn.ca’s Leslie Foster caught up with Canada’s new national champion, Danielle Hicks. Hicks’ candid nature was a pleasure to behold and, following our interview, she put comfort aside on a hot, humid day and donned a long-sleeved leo to pose for a Gymn.ca photo shoot.

Click here to read Hicks' thoughts and opinions of her life, inside and outside of the sport in which she has dedicated her life.


JULY 9 - CANADIAN TEAMS OPTIMISTIC FOR COMMONWEALTH GAMES

Kate Richardson

The Canadian men's and women's gymnastics teams entered their final stages of preparation for the upcoming Commonwealth Games today and expressed high hopes for success in Manchester. The men's team enjoyed a send-off celebration in Halifax before flying to England to begin their final training program, while the women completed mock training and competition sessions at the Winstonettes club in Markham, Ontario.

"Everybody's training really hard and looking really good," women's team leader, Kate Richardson, told Gymn.ca today. "Everybody's awesome on this team, and we have lots of fun together. They're [the rest of the team] doing really well. They've all done really awesome this year," said Richardson, who is now fully recovered from major back surgery earlier this year.

The women's team roster has been solidified, with Olympian Richardson being joined by national 1-2-3 Danielle Hicks, Heather Purnell, and Vanessa Meloche, as well as Stampede City's Kylie Stone. Winstonettes' Jennifer Simbhudas, who finished fourth at the national championships, will serve as alternate. Simbhudas will travel to Manchester and will be prepared to step in and compete in the event of an injury. David Kenwright and Yelena Davydova, personal coaches of Richardson and Hicks, respectively, will serve as team coaches.

Richard Ikeda

With a deep and increasingly experienced team, the Canadian women are looking to challenge the Australian and English teams for the medals in the women's competition. "I think [our chances] are pretty good. Andrei [Rodionenko, women's national team head coach] said there are a couple of strong teams there, but we can be second or third", said Purnell.

"I think we can go between first and third," added Meloche, who is one of Canada's best medal hopes on the uneven bars and vault. "The team is really strong, and we're really happy. We work more as a team than when we first came here. We help each other more and more every day."

The Canadian men's team completed an 11-day training camp at Halifax's ALTA gymnastics club today, and left for England feeling strong and confident. Lead by team captain Richard Ikeda, the team includes top world finisher Grant Golding, world championship medallist Alexander Jeltkov, Pacific Alliance medallists David Kikuchi, and Brandon O'Neil, and 2000 Olympian Kyle Shewfelt. One athlete, to be named after training in England, will become the alternate. Abbotsford's Takashi Kobayashi and ALTA's Tak Kikuchi will serve as team coaches.

Like the women's team, the men are expecting to vie for the gold medal against tough competition from Australia and England. "This is one of the strongest teams I've been on and I've been on many," Ikeda told Gymnastics Canada today. "This team is young but we're striving high."

The Commonwealth Games begin with Opening Ceremonies on July 25th, while gymnastics begins with the men's team competition on the 26th.

Check back with Gymn.ca in the coming days for more Notes & Quotes from today's women's training and verification meet. A full report of each gymnast's routines and Start Values can be found here.


JULY 7 - KEEPING YOU UPDATED WITH CANADA'S GYMNASTS

With the year half over, Gymn.ca caught up with several athletes from Canada's high performance teams. Part 1 of Gymn.ca's mid-year updates includes mini-diaries from Quebec's Amélie Plante, Alberta's Amanda Gering, and British Columbia's Gael Mackie. Read what the gymnasts have to say on their performances to date, and their plans for the rest of 2002. And stay tuned for part 2!



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