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Archive: March 2002

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MARCH 31 - MEDALS FOR STONE, MELOCHE, PEARSON AT WILD ROSE EVENT FINALS

Crowned the all-around winner in yesterday's competition, Stampede City's Kylie Stone continued to impress at the Wild Rose invitational today. Stone was Canada's most successful performer on the day, placing first on beam (9.425, with a 9.9 SV), and tied for second on floor (8.925, also from a 9.9 SV). Quebec's Vanessa Meloche, who trains at the Parkettes club in Allentown, PA, grabbed bronze on vault (9.062) and beam (8.975). Her vaults included a handspring front pike and piked barani. Burlington's Abby Pearson fresh off yesterday's sixth place all-around finish, took the gold medal on vault with a 9.162 average for her Yurchenko 1 1/2 and Hristakieva vaults. Pearson shared the vault title with Russia's Natalia Uchevatkina, the bronze medallist from the all-around competition. Ukraine's Oksana Dremliuga shared the gold medal on the uneven bars with Russia's Leila Gruzdeva, while Ukrainian Yevgenia Oliynik took top honours on the floor exercise.

Both Stone and Meloche have been named to Canada's senior training squad for the upcoming (May 3-5, 2002) Pacific Alliance Championships.

Look for full Wild Rose results to be posted on Gymn.ca in the coming days!


MARCH 31 - STONE WINS WILD ROSE; TEAM CANADA 2ND

Canada 2nd at Wild Rose
Photo courtesy Grace Chiu

The first day of competition at Edmonton's Wild Rose Invitational was a successful one for Canada, highlighted by Calgarian Kylie Stone's win in the all around competition. She edged out Russian 2001 world team member Ekaterina Privalova by .125. "The key for me tonight was that my level of concentration was very high," Stone told Gymnastics Canada Gymnastique. "I tended in the past to get very nervous. This was a pretty big win for me, I’m a little surprised." Canada's Lise Simard, GCG's Women's Program Director, commented that Kylie's double Arabian was, "one of the highest ever seen - truly worldclass."

Russia, represented by Ekaterina Privalova, Natalia Uchevatkina, Ekaterina Shuster, and Leila Gruzdeva took gold in the team event with 105.75 points. Canada, represented by Kylie Stone, Heather Purnell, Melanie Rocca, and Amelie Plante, outscored the Ukrainians (104.500 vs 103.225) to place second. The Ukraine was without the assistance of 2001 world team member Natalia Sirenko. Rocca was originally slated to compete on Canada's junior team against Mexico, but was asked to replace injured Vanessa Meloche (who instead competed as an individual, qualifying to vault and bars finals in 3rd). Rocca scored 8th in the all around competition in a tie with Heather Purnell, just ahead of Amelia Plante.

Abby Pearson, who competed as an individual, was the second highest placing Canadian - 6th AA with 34.125. This performance comes on the heels of a successful Spring Cup, where she was the highest placing Canadian, 7th AA with 33.475. Ortona's own Amanda Gering ended up competing in the senior category, where she attempted her new double Arabian on floor.

Canada's juniors dominated their meet, with Stephanie Gadbois, Jody McKellar, and Cindy Pierre medalling in the all around. "Apart from uneven bars, I was really pleased with my showing," Gadbois told Gymnastics Canada Gymnastique. "When I did my beam without falling, that gave me a lot of confidence."

Competition ends Sunday, with the event finals. Competing vault are Amanda Gering, Amanda Haikalis, Abby Pearson, Ekaterina Shuster, Natalia Uchevatkina, Heather Purnell, Vanessa Meloche, Amelie Plante, and Patricia Clarke, with Oksana Dremliuga as alternate. Contesting bars will be Lisa Pattison, Natalia Uchevatkina, Leila Gruzdeva Vanessa Meloche, Oksana Dremliuga, Melanie Rocca, Heather Purnell, and Amanda Gering, with Fanny Girard as alternate. Beam contestants include Amanda Gering, Lisa Pattison, Yevgena Oliynik, Maryna Proskurina, Kylie Stone, Ekaterina Privalova, Melanie Rocca, Abby Pearson, and Vanessa Meloche. The final event, floor exercise, will feature routines from Amanda Gering, Amanda Haikalis, Kylie Stone, Yevgena Oliynik, Ekaterina Privalova, Abby Pearson, Amelie Plante, Oksana Dremliuga, and Natalia Uchevatkina. Siloe Chicoine is the alternate for beam and floor.

Check back for results as they become available!

Senior AA:

Rank NameTeam Score
1 Kylie Stone CAN 35.500
2 Ekaterina Privalova RUS 35.375
3 Natalia Uchevatkina RUS 35.275
4 Yevgena Oliynik UKR 35.150
5 Oksana Dremliuga UKR 34.150
6 Abby Pearson Burlington 34.125
7 Leila Gruzdeva RUS 34.000
8 Heather Purnell CAN 33.975
8 Melanie Rocca CAN 33.975
10 Amelie Plante CAN  

Junior AA:

Rank NameTeam Score
1 Stephanie Gadbois CAN 32.125
2 Jody McKeller CAN 31.275
3 Cindy Pierre CAN 31.075

 



MARCH 29 - BARD RETURNS TO UKRAINE WITH MISSISSAUGA DELEGATION

FIG-acclaimed coach Alex Bard returned to his hometown of Kiev, Ukraine this week, bringing a delegation of Gymnastics Mississauga's best athletes to compete at the inaugural Stella Zakharova Cup. The competition, which got underway yesterday, features men's and women's team, all-around, and event finals. Mississauga's delegation, lead by head coach Bard, includes seniors Aubrey Taylor and Teri Gibson, and junior Melanie Tham. Teammate Lori Hamilton was reportedly unable to make the trip due to illness. The Canadian women's delegation is rounded out by 2000 Olympic judge Susan Harris. In the men's competition, British Columbia senior Darren dos Santos and junior twins Mark and Matti Beiler will represent Canada, with Takashi Kobayashi serving as coach. An injury forced Abbotsford's Chris Gordon to skip the competition.

Early results of the competition indicate that the Russian women won the team competition, followed by the Ukraine and the Netherlands. The top athlete in the women's all-around was Ukrainian junior star Alina Kozich, with Russia's Anna Pavlova second and Ukrainian Olympian Alyona Kvasha in third. No Canadian women finished in the top 10. Further results of both the men's and women's competition will be posted as soon as they become available.


MARCH 28 - SANDERS LEADS RHYTHMIC TEAM TO PACIFIC ALLIANCE

Recently crowned Elite Canada champion Mary Sanders will lead the Canadian rhythmic team at the upcoming Pacific Alliance Championships. Sanders, 16, heads the team of three senior athletes selected to compete at the Championships, to be held in Vancouver from May 3-5. Joining Sanders are Elite Canada runners up Alexandra Orlando and Kristi Clark. The junior team will also be comprised of the top three athletes from Elite Canada in Stefanie Carew, Olesia Zakon, and Jessica Krushen. Carew trains at Ontario's Sport Seneca club, while Zakon and Krushen both hail from British Columbia (Zakon trains at Gym Elite, while Krushen represents Okanagan).

For Sanders, who trains at Toronto's Ritmika club, Pacific Alliance is only one of many competitions this spring. In addition to her performance at Elite Canada, Sanders was also selected to represent Canada at last weekend's Thais International in France, where she finished 13th out of 24 competitors, as well as the prestigious Corbeil-Essonnes competition, which will take place in only a week after the Pacific Alliance event. Sanders' Ritmika teammate Orlando, 15, has also been selected to compete at Corbeil-Essonnes, which will be her first major senior international competition.


MARCH 27 - FRIENDSHIP TOUR CULMINATES THIS WEEKEND WITH WILD ROSE

The Wild Rose Invitational makes a welcome return to Canada's gymnastics scene this Easter weekend after a three-year absence. The third and final installment of the 2002 Canadian Friendship Tour, Ortona's Wild Rose, promises an equally competitive forum as delivered at the Gymnix and Spring Cup Invitationals earlier this month.

The senior Elite portion takes the form of a tri meet, between Russia, Ukraine, and host nation Canada. Gymnasts from Mexico round out the competition in the junior Elite portion. Representing Russia is 2001 world team member Ekaterina Privalova, Natalia Uchevatkina, Ekaterina Shuster, and Leila Gruzdeva. The Ukraine brings 2001 world team veteran Natalia Sirenko, who also visited Canada for Gymnastic Challenge 2000, Oksana Dremliuga, and newcomers Yevgenia Oliynik and Marina Proskurina. Canada is represented by seniors Kylie Stone, Heather Purnell, Vanessa Meloche, and 2001 world team member, Amelie Plante. In the junior competition, Ortona's own Amanda Gering will team up with Stéphanie De Lima, Judy McKellar, Lisa Pattison, and Melanie Rocca. Team Mexico has yet to arrive in Edmonton, but is expected to include juniors Elsa Garcia, Christina Lozoya, and Scarleth Guzman.

"We are really doing this for the girls of Alberta and Canada," explains meet director Michel Arsenault. "We hope that a meet of this magnitude will be an inspiration to our athletes. It is important for their development that they are exposed to international competition and I hope that they rise to the challenge of this meet." These opportunities come at a good time for Canada's athletes, with the upcoming Pacific Alliance Championships, Commonwealth Games, and World Apparatus Finals on the radar for 2002. Vanessa Meloche, recently chosen to compete at the Pacific Alliance Championships, welcomes the opportunity. "I've upgraded my tumbling and now have 0.5 bonus," she told Gymn.ca. "I feel really confident for Wild Rose and can't wait to compete!"

Junior and senior Elite portions will run concurrently, with preliminaries starting at approximately 6:20pm this Saturday, March 30. Finals take place Sunday, March 31, beginning at 1:20pm. Both competitions are expected to run three hours, and will take place at Edmonton's Grant MacEwan's Center for Sport and Wellness.

An additional 500+ gymnasts will converge at Wild Rose for physical ability and skills testing, as well as tyro, open, novice, and National novice competition. These events take place throughout the weekend, Friday through Sunday, at both the Grant MacEwan's Center for Sport and Wellness and the Ortona Gymnastics Club. Ortona is located at 8755 50th Ave.

Tickets to the elite portions are $10 for adults and $8 for children. Further information is available at the Wild Rose Web site, or by contacting host club Ortona at (780) 466-3547.


MARCH 25 - CANADIAN PACIFIC ALLIANCE TEAMS NAMED

Gymnastics Canada has named its men's and women's teams for the upcoming Pacific Alliance Championships, to be held in Vancouver, B.C. May 3-5. This year's edition of the bi-annual event will include a junior and senior team competition for both men and women, under a 3-3-3 format (all three team members will compete on each event, and all three scores on each event will count towards the final team score).

For the men, the senior team will consist of current national champion and 1996 Olympian Richard Ikeda of the Abbotsford Twisters; Ikeda's former club mate and Canada's top finisher at last year's world championships Grant Golding (now training out of the University of Calgary); and world team member and Unversity Games event finalist David Kikuchi of the ALTA club in Nova Scotia. The junior team will be led by Matthew Ryan and Brandon O'Neill (the top two junior finishers at last year's national championships). The third team member will be Adam Wong, last year's Canadian novice high performance all-around champion.

For the women, four seniors have been named to the team (one of which will eventually be named the team alternate, but will likely participate at the Pacific Alliance meet as an out of competition athlete). The four senior gymnasts are 2001 world team member Amélie Plante of Gymnix; last year's junior national champion Kylie Stone of Stampede City; Gemini's Danielle Hicks - second at 2001 Elite Canada; and Vanessa Meloche, a two-time junior Pan American Championships team member who now trains at the Parkettes. Team alternates (in rank order) are Ottawa's Heather Purnell and 2001 world team member Jennifer Simbhudas of the Winstonettes. For the juniors, Sport Seneca's Lydia Williams will compete along with Burlington's Melanie Rocca and Omega's Gael Mackie. A junior women's alternate will be named following this week's Wild Rose competition. Contenders are Ortona's Amanda Gering, Richelieu's Amanda Haikalis, and Lisa Pattison from Marian. As per the Pacific Alliance rules, a gymnast born in 1987 is eligible for either the junior or the senior event, which allowed the Canadian team some flexibility in naming its team (Stone, Williams, Rocca, Haikalis, and Gering are all born in 1987).

The official team coaches include Guenadi Gribanov for the men (one of three men's national team technical assistants); Claude Pelletier and Stefania Iliesu for the senior women; and Carol-Angela Orchard and Vladimir Lashin for the junior women.

MARCH 24 - SECOND BRONZE FOR SHEWFELT; KIKUCHI EIGHTH

Kyle Shewfelt took his second bronze medal in as many days with his vault performance at the Cottbus Cup Grand Prix. Shewfelt, who just missed qualifying to the vault final at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, scored a 9.413 average on his Yurchenko and Tsukahara vaults. The top scores went to Cuba's Carles Leon Tamago (9.637) and Romania's Ioan Suciu (9.444). The results were repeated in the winner's final.

2001 world championship team member David Kikuchi, competing in his first Grand Prix event, finished eighth in the parallel bars final with an 8.512 score. The final was won by two-time world all-around champion Ivan Ivankov of Belarus. Ivankov's 9.350 score edged France's Yann Cucherat by 0.050. Cucherat came back to edge Ivankov in the final, however, scoring a 9.462 to Ivankov's 9.425.


MARCH 23 - BRONZE FOR SHEWFELT ON DAY ONE OF FINALS

Canada's Kyle Shewfelt continued his impressive run of international results on the floor exercise with a third-place effort at the Cottbus Cup, held earlier today. Shewfelt scored a 9.337, which ranked him behind Bulgaria's Jordan Jovtchev and Latvia's Yevgeni Sapronenko, who scored 9.562 and 9.550, respectively. Jovtchev and Sapronenko then moved on to the winner's final (top two athletes only), where the Latvian claimed gold after Jovtchev made an error.

Competition continues tomorrow with the remainder of the men's events. Shewfelt has also qualified to the vault final, while Alta Gymnastics' David Kikuchi will compete in the parallel bars.


MARCH 22 - SHEWFELT QUALIFIES TO FLOOR AT COTTBUS

Calgary's Kyle Shewfelt scored a 9.187 on floor exercise in the preliminary round at the Cottbus Cup today. Finishing the qualifying round in seventh place, Shewfelt will advance to tomorrow's final. Leading the pack are Jordan Jovtchev (BUL) and Evgeny Sapronenko (LAT), in first and third place, respectively. A suprise second is Denmark's Kasper Farden. Shewfelt will also vie for positions in the vault and high bar finals later today.

Nova Scotia's David Kikuchi scored an 8.100 on pommel horse, which ranked him 30th in a field of 46 participants. Kikuchi has two more attempts to qualify to finals in this competitive field on the rings and parallel bars.

For more information check out Gymmedia's extensive coverage.


MARCH 20 - SHEWFELT, KIKUCHI OFF TO COTTBUS

Fresh off their successful performances at last weekend's Jurassic Classic, Canadians Kyle Shewfelt and David Kikuchi leave today to compete in the Cottbus Cup Grand Prix, a World Cup qualifier event.

Shewfelt, who took gold medals on floor exercise and vault at the Jurassic Classic, will be competing for top honours on the floor exercise, vault, and high bar as he seeks to earn a berth in the World Cup finals later this year. Kikuchi also had his share of success in Calgary with a gold medal in the open men's all-around final, as well as rings in the event finals. He will compete in the floor exercise, pommel horse, rings, and parallel bars events. Both were also members of the Canadian men's team that was defeated by the Americans 164.675 to 161.250 in the team competition.

The Canadians will face stiff competition in Germany, with no less than 79 men entered in the event, including world and Olympic champions Ivan Ivankov, Jordan Jovtchev, Szilveszter Csollany, Igor Vihrovs, Marius Urzica, and Marian Dragulescu, as well as many other world class athletes.

Also scheduled to represent Canada at the Cottbus event was Hamilton's Joelle Ouellette, until arthroscopic knee surgery forced her withdrawal. Ouellette continues to improve, however, and is expected to resume tumbling in the next week.

Check back with gymn.ca for complete results of the Cottbus Cup as soon as they become available.


MARCH 17 - CURTIS TAKES SPRING CUP JUNIOR TITLE; TRICASE TOPS IN EVENT FINALS

The U.S. domination of the Canadian Friendship Tour continued yesterday with a one-two finish in the junior women's all-around by teammates Sarah Curtis and Kassi Price. Curtis, 14, used strong vaulting (double-twisting Yurchenko) and tumbling (double layout, full-in, effortless double pike) to take the title over her younger teammate by a score of 34.650 to 33.625. Canada's Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs scored 33.150 to finish third, ceding the silver medal to Price on vault (Price vaulted a 1 ½ twisting Yurchenko for a 9.300, while Hopfner-Hibbs performed a clean, but lower-valued tucked Yurchenko for an 8.200). Canadian teammate Lisa Pattison of Saskatchewan had an on-and-off day, falling on her uneven bars dismount (double front) to finish eighth.

In the senior event finals, American Liz Tricase continued her outstanding run at Spring Cup by adding gold medals on vault and floor to her all-around silver medal from Friday. On vault, Tricase launched a double-twisting Yurchenko for a 9.412, and followed it up with a powerful, but less difficult handspring front for a 9.112 average and the gold medal. Tricase, who is coached by Todd Gardiner at the Illinois Gymnastics Institute, also took top honours on the floor exercise with her dynamic tumbling (effortless double layout in a rare hollow-bodied position).

All-around champion Ashley Miles also had a solid day of competition, taking the silver on vault (full-twisting Yurchenko, hand down on her 1 ½ twisting Yurchenko) and floor exercise (had to tuck her double layout second pass), while sharing the gold on balance beam with Ukrainian Irina Krasnyanska (beautiful straddle press to handstand, full pirouette, stoop through to high V-sit mount). The two were a story in contrasts, both on the apparatus and off, with Miles standing almost a full foot taller than Krasnyanska on the podium, resulting in cheers and chuckles from the capacity crowd.

The uneven bars final was won by Russia's Olga Azarkevitch, who demonstrated tight, clean lines and gorgeous toe-point throughout the routine to take Russia's only gold medal of the competition. Canada's Melanie Rocca, in her only final of the day, was in the running for a medal until troubles with her dismount cost her a chance at a top finish. Burlington teammate Abby Pearson, performing in what was likely her last international competition, performed admirably in both and vault and balance beam finals to the delight of the hometown crowd.

Look for full results, photos, and quotes from Spring Cup 2002 in the coming days on Gymn.ca


MARCH 16 - TEAM USA DOMINATES AT JURASSIC CLASSIC

The men's and women's teams from USA defeated Canada last night at the dual meet portion of the Jurassic Classic meet. The women's team took the top four spots in the all-around standings, led by Carly Patterson (37.375), Tia Orlando (36.625) and Hollie Vise (36.475). Gymn.ca does not have the score for the other American team member Kaitlin White. The US team scored a total of 111.475, well ahead of Canada's 105.925. Canada's top performer was last year's junior national champion Kylie Stone from the Stampede City club (who has already been quite successful on the international club scene this year), who took a 35.475. She was followed by Seneca's Lydia Williams who scored 34.875 and Gemini's Danielle Hicks with 34.475. No scores are currently available for the other Canadian entries: Ottawa's Heather Purnell and Omega's Gael Mackie, who replaced Purnell's teammate Melanie Banville who was unable to compete due to an injury sustained earlier in the week.

The men's competition was closer, with team USA scoring 164.675 versus 161.25 for the Canadian team. According to Gymnastics Canada, the Canadian team had several errors which hindered their chance to win the men's team title. Individually, the Americans, led by world team member Todd Thornton, who scored 54.70, earned the top three all-around scores. He was followed by NCAA standout Cody Moore, with 54.80, and up and comer Daniel Furney with 53.98. The Canadians were led by their top worlds finisher, Grant Golding (formerly of BC and now training in Calgary), who scored 52.75 to finish 5th. Nova Scotia's David Kikuchi was close behind Golding, scoring 52.73. No other men's scores are available at this time.

Competition concludes today with apparatus finals for the dual meet competitors, as well as an open competition including many top clubs from Western Canada. Gymn.ca hopes to bring you complete results and more details from the event soon.


MARCH 15 - MILES TAKES FIRST PLACE AT SPRING CUP; PEARSON TOPS FOR CANADA

World Championship team bronze medallist Ashley Miles took first place in the all-around at tonight's Spring Cup international invitational meet, held in Burlington, Ontario. Miles overcame a fall off beam (layout step-out mount) in the third rotation to take the title over her teammate Liz Tricase, who took second. Tricase had held the lead after the first rotation with her explosive and clean Yurchenko double twist, which scored an impressive 9.45. Both American gymnasts showed difficult and well-executed tumbling on floor (arabian double front, double layout, 2 ½ punch front, and double pike for Miles; and a double layout, triple twist, whip ½ to front double twist, and double pike for Tricase). The Americans also won the mini team event.

Finishing third was Argentinian world team member Celeste Carnavale, whose best work came on bars (where she was allowed to repeat her routine after problems with the use of flash photography from the audience) and balance beam. Carnavale was followed in the AA rankings by the two Russian competitors Olga Arzakevitch and Irina Kryuchkova. The former increased her difficulty level on floor from last weekend's Gymnix meet (her piked full-in opening on floor was followed by a nice arabian double front), while the latter took out a few skills (but nailed her Comaneci on bars and back tuck full on beam). The young Ukrainian Irina Krasnyanka (who had competed as a junior at the Gymnix meet) followed in 6th, showing some very difficult inside stalder elements (including one to a Higgins roll) on bars.

Three Canadian gymnasts followed, led by Abby Pearson of the host Burlington club, who had a great 4 for 4 effort tonight, finishing up on beam with one of the strongest performances of her career on that event. She was followed by her younger clubmate Melanie Rocca (fresh off a medal winning performance at last week-end's Gymnix meet), who excelled on bars with her elgrip giant work (and the double front dismount she had left out last week-end). Former Burlington gymnast Aubrey Taylor (now back at Mississauga) overcame a stiff legged landing on vault in warm-ups to nail her piked front ½ in the actual competition. She finished 9th behind Rocca. Ortona's Amanda Gering (who was teamed with Rocca in the mini team competition) followed in 10th place. Some of Gering's best work was on bars where she was one of few gymnasts to show two major release skills (Gienger and piked Jaeger), although a clipped foot on the low bar caused her to miss her dismount. Finishing 11th was Richelieu's Siloé Chicoine, who debuted a piked Luconi on vault which was well executed. Rounding out the top 12 was Ukraine's Inna Teslenko who suffered many falls throughout the competition, which marred her final all-around result.

The junior women's all-around takes place tomorrow, followed by a special showcase combined with the senior apparatus finals. Look for continued reports and complete results to be posted on gymn.ca soon.


MARCH 13 - SPRING CUP, JURASSIC EVENT INFORMATION

After the great success of the Gymnix International, the Canadian Frienship Tour continues this weekend with the 2002 Burlington Spring Cup International. In only its second year as an international event, Spring Cup will play host to a number of world-class athletes competing for junior and senior team, all-around, and event titles. While many athletes will travel from the Gymnix meet to Burlington, there are a number of notable changes. Representing Canada will be 2001 world championship team member and reigning Elite Canada champion, Jennifer Simbhudas, while the United States will send a completely different delegation that includes world championship medallist Ashley Miles. Miles, 17, was a member of the U.S. team that took the bronze medal at last year's world championships in Ghent, Belgium, and will be joined by teammates Liz Tricase in the senior competition and Kassi Price and Sarah Curtis in the junior event.

International competition begins Friday with the senior High Performance team and all-around finals scheduled to begin at 7:00 pm local time. Provincial Level 3, Rhythmic, and National Novice competitions will also take place througout the day. Saturday's competition will feature junior High Performance at 11:00 am, followed by a sports aerobics competition. The gala showcase (which also features senior event finals - no event finals will be contested for junior athletes) is scheduled to begin at 7:00 pm on Saturday. All competition will take place at Burlington's Notre Dame High School. Event tickets range from $8 to $15, with weekend passes ranging from $15 to $30. Tickets are available at the door, or by contacting the club at 905-637-5774. Further information is available at the club's website.

Also scheduled for this weekend is the eighth annual Jurassic Classic, a men's and women's national and international meet hosted by the University of Calgary. This year the international competition will be a Canada vs. USA dual meet for both men and women. The men's roster includes Todd Thornton, D.J Bucher, Daniel Furney, Jason Furr and Cody Moore of the USA and Grant Golding, David Kikuchi, Kyle Shewfelt, Richard Ikeda, and Scott Lang of Canada. The women's competition will feature Kristal Uzelac, Hollie Vise, Carly Patterson, Tia Orlando, and Kaitlin White for the US, and Danielle Hicks, Lydia Williams, Kylie Stone, Heather Purnell, and Melanie Banville of Canada.

While provincial, national, and university level men's and women's competition is scheduled from Friday to Sunday, the international team competition is scheduled to begin at 7:00 pm, local time, on Friday evening. Individual competition will begin Saturday at 5:00 pm, with all competition scheduled to take place at the University of Calgary's Jack Simpson Gymnasium. More information is available at the Jurassic Classic website.


MARCH 10 - EIGHT DIFFERENT CHAMPIONS AT GYMNIX EVENT FINALS

The 2002 Gymnix International drew to a close today with junior and senior event finals. After dominating the all-around competition, U.S. athletes took home most of the hardware in the event finals, but Russian and Ukrainian athletes were finally able to break up the American hegemony. In the senior competition, all-around champion Jordan Schwikert took the title on the uneven bars (due to injury, this was Schwikert's only final of the day), followed by teammate Kaitlin White and Canada's Amelie Plante. Plante also took the silver on vault, which was won by White. Russia's Irina Kryutchkova took first place on the balance beam, while Terin Humphrey (USA) was tops on floor exercise.

In the junior competition, WOGA's Carly Patterson took her second gold medal of the meet with the top score on vault, while clubmate Hollie Vise excelled on her best event, the balance beam, to take the title there. Ukraine's Inna Teslenko used a clean performance to earn the gold on uneven bars over Canada's Melanie Rocca, and Parkettes sparkplug Tia Orlando won floor.

Look for full event final results, competition reports, and photos to be posted as soon as they become available.

MARCH 10 - USA DOMINATES GYMNIX INTERNATIONAL

The all-around competition of the 2002 Gymnix International was a smashing success for the team from the United States. Athletes from the U.S. swept the top four spots in both the junior and senior all-around, with Jordan Schwikert and Carly Patterson taking the senior and junior titles, respectively. Top Canadian results came from Sport Seneca's Lydia Williams (6th, senior), and Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs (7th, junior). World championship team member Amelie Plante, who is still hampered by the ankle injury that kept her from competing all but uneven bars at last year's world championships, had to skip floor exercise. The Montreal native was successful on the uneven bars, however, where she caught her risky Def release for an 8.700 and a berth in event finals.

The competition was marred by errors, with few athletes performing to their maximum potential. A slipped foot on a piked front balance beam mount (she managed to hang on) and low landings on vault (Khorkina II) and floor exercise (double layout, 2 1/2 punch front-full, piked full-in) kept pre-meet favourite, Kristal Uzelac (USA) from the top of the podium, while Las Vegas native Schwikert seized the opportunity and stole the show. With exceptional stalder work on the uneven bars (endo 1/2 turn to toe-on Shaposhnikova; stalder blind-endo full-Gienger; arabian double front dismount - stuck), Schwikert impressed fans and judges alike as her rapid ascent up the gymnastics rankings continues. Earlier this year, Schwikert defeated her older sister, and 2001 world championship bronze medallist Tasha Schwikert, by taking the Las Vegas Cup.

Senior runner-up Kaitlin White of the World Olympic Gymnastics Academy (WOGA) threw a punch front layout immediate punch front 2 1/2 twist on floor exercise en route to a 8.650, and was one of only three Americans (along with junior runner-up Hollie Vise and senior champ Jordan Schwikert) to stay on the balance beam.

A fall from beam (planche handstand) cost all-around bronze medallist Terin Humphrey a higher placing, but her elegant, virtuous work elsewhere was enough to hold off the challenge from Uzelac, who finished fourth.

On the Canadian side, Williams, in her first international competition as a senior, showed tremendous body line and presentation throughout the meet, along with a new piked Luconi vault (round-off full-twist on, piked back somi off). Williams' strong showing at Gymnix, coupled with her third place finish at Elite Canada, should give the 14 year-old confidence heading into next weekend's Jurassic Classic, where she and her Canadian teammates will square off against the tough competitors from the USA once more.

Canada's Vanessa Meloche also had a noteworthy showing, with a 3-for-4 day and an eighth-place finish. Meloche, who trains with U.S. athletes Uzelac and junior bronze medallist Tia Orlando at the Parkettes club in Allentown, Pennsylvania, had a top-six placing in her sights until a lingering ankle injury resulted in a fall on floor (front-full front-full), dropping her down the rankings. Most impressive were Meloche's performances on vault (piked front-1/2), and balance beam (8.900) where she qualified to event finals on both. "I am most happy about beam," Meloche noted after the competition, "I love beam!"

For the most current results available of the all-around competition, please click here.


MARCH 9 - BE A GUEST AT DINNER WITH SVETLANA BOGINSKAYA

The organizers of the 2002 Spring Cup International Invitational are pleased to announce a unique opportunity to dine with an Olympic champion. Svetlana Boginskaya, a three-time Olympian and five-time Olympic medallist, will be in Burlington this week to offer a choreography clinic on Thursday, March 14, in conjunction with Spring Cup 2002. After her afternoon clinic, Boginskaya will be joined by ten guests for dinner at the Water Street Cooker in Burlington.

Tickets for the dinner with Boginskaya, which will take place Thursday from 6:00 to 7:30 pm, will go on sale Monday, March 11 from 4:00 to 5:00 pm. Ten tickets will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis, at a cost of $100 per ticket, dinner included. To purchase tickets, call 905-637-7152 between 4:00 and 5:00 pm on Monday, and ask for Jenna.

For more information about Spring Cup 2002 clinics, which are open to the public and cover topics such as sports psychology, nutrition, gymnastics apparatus, and Boginskaya's choreography clinic, please contact the Burlington Gymnastics Club at 905-637-5774, or by e-mailing office.bgc@sympatico.ca.


MARCH 3 - GYMNIX INTERNATIONAL TICKET, ROSTER INFORMATION

The Canadian Friendship Tour kicks off next weekend with the Gymnix International, one of the world's foremost club-based internationals. This year, Gymnix will play host to athletes from eight countries, highlighted by home club favourite and world championship team member Amelie Plante. The USA is fielding a world class team, led by three-time junior national champion Kristal Uzelac. To view the most current Gymnix roster, please click here.

Junior and senior all-around competition is scheduled for Saturday, March 9 at 7:30 pm, with event finals Sunday, March 10 at 3:30 pm at Montreal's Claude Robillard Centre. Provincial and national level competitions are also scheduled from Thursday to Sunday, inclusive. Tickets range from $5.00 for students to $10.00 for adults for a single session, or $17.00 and $35.00, respectively, for a full competition pass.

The Claude Robillard Centre is located at 1000 Emile Journault, Montreal. For further information, or to purchase tickets, please call (514) 872-1536 or e-mail the club. Tickets will be available at the door.

Gymn.ca will be on-hand for Gymnix International 2002, so be sure to check back for full results, reports, and photo galleries.


MARCH 3 - OUELLETTE RECOVERING FROM SURGERY

2001 world team member Joelle Ouellette injured her right knee last week in training. An MRI performed Tuesday indicated a tear in her meniscus, and she underwent surgery on Thursday. "I'm feeling alright. The surgery went well and I'm happy everything is alright! I just have to focus towards nationals now!" Joelle told Gymn.ca. She expects to be out of the gym for approximately 2 weeks, "but then [will] start getting back into it slowly." Joelle was scheduled to compete at the 2002 Cottbus and Spring Cups, but has understandably withdrawn. Fans wishing to pass along their best wishes to Joelle may email her. Gymn.ca wishes Joelle a speedy recovery.


MARCH 1 - RHYTHMIC ELITE CANADA UNDERWAY TODAY

Thirty-one of Canada's best rhythmic gymnasts will converge on Etobicoke, Ontario, this weekend for the annual Elite Canada competition. Taking place from today until Sunday, March 3rd at the Etobicoke Olympium, Elite Canada will feature the country's best junior and senior rhythmic gymnasts competing for international assignments and berths in May's national championships.

Headlining the invitation-only event is Canada's reigning national champion, Mary Sanders, who enters the event ranked first in the senior category. Sanders, 16, of the Ritmika Gymnastics Club, will be hard-pressed by Kalev's Irina Funtikova, Burlington's Pamela Jewell, and hometown favourite Kristi Clark. Junior national champion Alexandra Orlando will also be looking to make a name for herself at her first major senior competition.

Competition begins today with junior hoop and ball from 4 - 6pm, followed by senior rope and hoop at 7pm. Saturday's competition will feature junior clubs and ribbon from 10am - noon, and senior ball and clubs at 1pm, with all-around awards scheduled for 3:30 pm. Individual apparatus finals for both junior and senior will begin at 11:45 am on Sunday, and the weekend will be brought to a close with a gala event at 2:30pm.

Tickets for Elite Canada can be purchased at the door, with prices ranging from $3 to $15 for an all-inclusive pass. The Etobicoke Olympium is located at 590 Rathburn Road, Etobicoke.



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