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Archive: April 2003

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Canadian competitors earned three first place finishes last night at the NCAA individual apparatus finals. UCLA's Kate Richardson tied for first place on the uneven bars with teammate Jamie Dantzscher with a 9.9 score, and later took the balance beam title outright with a 9.938. Nebraska's Richelle Simpson, who earlier in the week took home Canada's first ever NCAA all-around title, was victorious on the floor exercise with a 9.963 and also finished second behind Richardson on the balance beam. 1997 world team member Veronique Leclerc of Utah took third on the uneven bars behind Richardson and Dantzscher. In other events, Simpson took fourth place on vault and eighth on uneven bars (Simpson was the only gymnast to qualify for all four event finals). Two-time Olympian Yvonne Tousek of UCLA tied for fourth on the uneven bars, while Richardson finished fifth in her final apparatus, the floor exercise.

On Friday, Tousek and Richardson helped UCLA claim the NCAA team title over Alabama and Georgia who finished second and third respectively. Tousek and Richardson were less sharp than they had been in team qualifying, suffering breaks on vault (Tousek) and bars and floor (Richardson). Nebraska finished fourth, led again by Simpson who earned an incredible 39.8 all-around total. Roudning out the top six were Michigan and Utah. Utah had a difficult meet after senior stand-out and 1999 NCAA all-around champion Theresa Kulikowski to injury after the first event. Competing for Utah were Leclerc and Kim Allan, whose highlights included a 9.825 on vault for Leclerc and a 9.85 on the uneven bars for Allan (both gymnasts had difficulty on their other events).

CBS will be featuring coverage of this event on Sunday, May 5th. Check local listings for when this show will be aired in your area. Full results of this year's NCAA Championships can be found here.


Former Canadian national team member Richelle Simpson took the all-around title at the NCAA Championships in Lincoln, Nebraska tonight. Simpson earned an impressive 39.675 score to become the first Canadian woman ever to win the NCAA all-around. She also led her Nebraska Cornhuskers to a first place showing in their qualifying session. Nebraska will advance to tomorrow's Super Six finals along with Utah (including Canadians Kim Allan and Veronique Leclerc) and Georgia.

In the other qualification group, UCLA came out on top led by 2000 US Olympian Jamie Dantzscher, the defending NCAA all-around champion, who finished just behind Simpson with a 39.65. Canadian Olympian Kate Richardson, also competing for UCLA, earned the day's third best all-around score of 39.525, as well as the top beam qualifying score of the day (a 9.925). Richardson also qualified for finals on bars and floor. Also competing for UCLA was Canadian Olympian Yvonne Tousek, who earned a berth in the uneven bars finals with a 9.85 score. The other teams to advance to the Super Six from this session were Alabama and Michigan.

Canada was also represented by Olympians Lise Leveille (Stanford) and Michelle Conway (Iowa) whose teams finished fifth and sixth respectively in their qualification groups and did not advance. Iowa was also represnted by former Canadian national open champion Tiffany Kwan, while Annie Gagnon contributed two events to LSU's fifth place effort. Carly Dockendorff of University of Washington and Katie McAvoy of Penn State competed in the NCAA's as individual all-around qualifiers, and 1998 Canadian Champion Katie Rowland represented Penn State as an individual competitor on vault and floor.

The NCAA Championships continue tomorrow, when the team champion will be crowned in the Super Six Finals. The individual apparatus champions will be crowned on Saturday. Full results can be found here.


The spring season is in full swing, and Canadian Rhythmic gymnasts have already had a taste of success. Canada’s senior group continues to build their reputation overseas. After placing fourth all around, the team captured two bronze medals just behind Bulgaria and Greece.

The top senior individuals recently departed for important competitions in Bulgaria and France. Newly crowned #1 Alexandra Orlando (Ontario) and first year senior Olesia Zakon (BC) will represent Canada at the Julietta Shishmanova competition (May 2-4), named in honor of the great Bulgarian coach. The following weekend the duo will participate in the prestigious Corbeil-Essonnes, regarded as the most important Invitational competition.

Domestically, qualifying competitions for Nationals take place May 1st through 4th. The Eastern provinces will compete in Montreal, and the Western provinces in Saskatchewan. National team members are not required to participate. Update team lists are available are www.rgc.ca.


Gymnastics Mississauga's Ashley Peckett is replacing Heather Purnell at the upcoming Achtlandentoernooi meet in early May. "National Coach Andrei Rodionenko and Head Coach Tobie Gorman felt that it was preferable for Heather to recover completely from a small wrist problem and focus on the preparation for the summer competitions which start with the Pan Am and World Trials at Seneca College on July 12 and 13," cites a GCG press release.

The Achtlandentoernooi takes place in Groningen, in the northern part of The Netherlands. Peckett rounds out a team that includes Ottawa Gymnastics' Melanie Banville, Omega's Gael Mackie, Stampede City's Kylie Stone, and Sport Seneca's Lydia Williams. The combined team and all-around takes place May 3rd, with event finals the following day. Local Dutch TV is expected to televise live coverage of the event finals.


Williams and Stone
at 2003 Romanian International

Courtesy of GMZ

Calgary's Kylie Stone took home a bronze medal on the floor exercise in today's apparatus finals. Stone's score of 9.4 on the event was one of her highest international scores to date. The 15 year old also qualified for finals on vault and balance beam, finishing fifth on both events, scoring 9.05 and 9.3 respectively. In Saturday's all-around competition, Stone finished an impressive fifth, with a total score of 35.55. Monica Rosu and Alexandra Eremia of the host Romanian team tied for first place all-around with 37.65, followed by Belgium's Aagie Walleghem (36.125) and China's Li Ya (35.95).

Teammate Lydia Williams finished 8th in yesterday's all-around competition, with a score of 34.425. She also advanced to today's apparatus finals in the uneven bars and balance beam, finishing seventh on both events.

According to reports, the other Canadian women's entrant, national all-around champion Danielle Hicks injured her ankle on the floor exercise during Saturday's competition.

In the men's apparatus finals, Rhett Stinson finished forth on parallel bars (after missing his dismount) with an 8.875, and seventh on high bar. Grant Golding scored an impressive 9.35 on still rings to finish sixth. He also participated in the finals on floor exercise (seventh) and high bar (eighth).

The Romanian team won nine of ten available gold medals in today's finals. Men's all-around champion Pavel Goffman of Israel took first place on parallel bars to prevent the home country sweep.


Grant Golding
2002 Elite Canada

Both Canadian men's entrants have qualified for the apparatus finals at this weekend's Romanian International in Ploesti. Calgary's Grant Golding bounced back from a rough start to his all around effort (after not performing his intended vault, he later fell twice from the parallel bars) to record the third highest scores on the floor exercise (9.25) and still rings (9.2), earning event finals berth on both events. His earlier mistakes brought his all-around score down to a 51.15, which was still good enough for a 10th place finish in a field of 41 gymnasts. Teammate Rhett Stinson of Saskatoon competed on only four apparatus during the all-around competition, and placed well enough on still rings and high bar to qualify for apparatus finals there.

The all-around event was won by Israel's Pavel Goffman with a score of 55.05, followed by Romanians Pazvan Selariu (54.70) and Ioan Suciu (53.90). Reigning European all-around champion Dan Potra of the host team did not compete in all events due to a wrist injury.

The women's all-around event takes place today, followed by the apparatus finals for both men and women on Sunday.


Rhett Stinson
2002 Elite Canada
Canada has sent a strong team of five gymnasts to compete at the prestigious Romanian International Invitational in Ploesti, Romania this weekend. Headlining the men's delegation will be 22 year old Grant Golding of Calgary, Canada's top all-around performer at the 2001 world championships, as well as a member of the last two Commonwealth Games teams. Golding will be joined by Saskatoon's Rhett Stinson, a 26 year old veteran national team member. Stinson, who competed for Canada at the 1997 world championships, is returning to all-around form after a knee injury that took him out of the 2001 world championships. This competition serves a key stepping stone in their preparation for the 2003 world championships to be held later this year in August in Anaheim, California, where both gymnasts hope to secure berths as all-around performers. Immediately following their return from Romania, Golding and Stinson will participate in a national team training camp in Calgary from April 13-23. According to men's programme director Karl Balisch, "this is a major Preparation camp for the team for Pan Am Games and Worlds."

For the women, current national all-around champion Danielle Hicks, 17, of Oshawa will be joined by Calgary's Kylie Stone, 15, the top all-arounder at the recent Pacific Challenge meet versus U.S.A and Australia, and recent Gymnix International winner Lydia Williams, 15, of Toronto. Competing in Romania, whose women's team has won the last five world team titles, will serve as an excellent opportunity for these gymnasts to gain competitive experience as well as exposure in front of international judges. All three women competitors are considered strong contenders for selection to the Pan American Games and World Championships teams.

Accompanying the gymnasts to Romania are men's coach Tony Smith, and women's coaches Lawson Coo and Stephania Iliesu.

Competition takes place this Friday and Saturday. Look to Gymn.ca to bring you results and details from the competition as soon as they are available.


Quebec's Bryan Milonja and Ontario's Karen Cockburn were the top finishers in the men's and women's individual trampoline competition at the Winning Colours Canada Cup, the first of three world team trials for trampoline and tumbling.

In the men's competition, Milonja, 17, came from behind in Saturday's final to defeat the more experienced Michel Greene, 103.60 to 103.40. It was Milonja's clean execution in his final routine that sealed the victory over Greene, who also hails from Quebec. In the final, Milonja performed a routine with a 14.40 difficulty rating, 1.2 less than Greene, who led the field after the compulsory routine on Friday. After great success, both nationally and internationally at the junior level, 2003 is Milonja's first year as a senior-aged competitor.

Finishing third was Ryan Weston, one of several U.S. competitors in the field. Fourth place went to British Columbia's Adam Menzies, while national team veteran Chris Mitruk was fifth overall. 2000 Olympic bronze medallist Mathieu Turgeon finished 10th after scoring only a 3.40 total in his compulsory routine.

In the women's competition, Cockburn moved up from third after the compulsory round to the top of the podium on Saturday with a solid routine in the final that had the highest difficulty rating (14.4) of the entire women's field. Finishing second was Cockburn's Skyriders teammate Brenna Casey, who performed a clean, but less difficult exercise in the final. Third went to American competitor Kallan Kampas, while veteran Heather McManus was fourth after an error in her second routine on Friday.

In the women's synchronized trampoline competition, Cockburn and McManus teamed up to defeat the team of Casey and Savija McManus, who finished fifth in the individual competition.

The results of the Winning Colours Canada Cup will count towards qualification for the 2003 World Championships for Tumbling and Trampoline, which will be held in Germany in October. In addition, the top four athletes from the trial will be invited to compete in a World Cup event in Paris in June.


Calgary's Adam Wong took first place in the all-around competition today at the OBI Cup junior international men's meet in Berlin, Germany. His winning score of 50.00 points included the day's best mark on rings, the second highest scores on floor exercise and high bar, and the third best score on parallel bars. Two Swiss competitors finished second and third respectively, with Roland Haeupteli scoring 49.70 and Roman Gisi earning 48.55.

Wong and his teammates Nathan Gafiuk and Christian Nuttall (both also of Calgary) and Peter Anderson of Surrey, B.C. finished seventh out of seventeen countries in the team competition, scoring 142.45. The team event was won by the Netherlands (who scored 148.15), followed by Switzerland (146.65) and the German's Cottbus team (145.25).

Individually, Nuttall impressed by earning the top floor exercise score in the 14 and under age group.


Bluewater's Melanie Rocca placed 18th AA at today's Stella Zakharova Cup, her top score on floor (8.775). Winstonettes' Jennifer Simbhudas placed 23rd overall, Gemini's Kiera Amyot 29th, and Champions' Amanda Gering 30th. The meet was won by Ukrainian Alyona Kvasha (37.209), followed by Russia's Ekaterina Orlova (36.767) and Ukrainian Irina Yarotska.

No Canadians qualified to the event finals. Rocca tied for 8th on floor after day 1, but the tie was broken by start values. Rocca posted a 9.5 SV, but the other 8th place competitor (9.6 SV) was advanced.


A very busy spring competitive season continues this weekend with three different meets for the Canadian men's, women's, and tumbling and trampoline teams. Some of Canada's best athletes will compete in three different countries across two continents in preparation for the upcoming Pan American Games and World Championships.

Locally, Canada's best tumbling and trampoline athletes will gather in Oakville, Ontario for the first of three world team trials. Olympic and World Cup medallist Karen Cockburn headlines a roster of top stars who will all vie for positions on the upcoming World Championship tumbling and trampoline team. The final two world team selections will take place at the national championships in May, followed by a meet in Longueuil, Quebec, in July. The World Championships will be held in Hannover, Germany, in October.

The competition, known as the Winning Colours Canada Cup, will take place over two days at the Maple Grove Arena in Oakville. Preliminary competition begins on Friday at 1 pm, and finals on Saturday at 2 pm. While concerns have been raised over holding the event under the cloud of current SARS crisis, Gymnastics Canada has reported that the competition is set to proceed as scheduled.

For the Canadian men, four young athletes will have the chance to gain experience and compete overseas at the OBI Team Cup in Berlin, Germany. Nathan Gafuik and Adam Wong will use the meet as an opportunity to prepare for this summer's Pan American Games, while age-group athletes Christian Nuttall of Calgary and Peter Anderson of Surrey, British Columbia, will make their international debuts.

Finally, four female club athletes will compete abroad at the Stella Zakharova Cup in Ukraine. Recent Bluewater and Gymnix International participants Amanda Gering (Champions), Melanie Rocca (Bluewater), Kiera Amyot (Gemini), and Jennifer Simbhudas (Winstonettes) will represent their home clubs at the second-annual event, which will be held in Kiev.

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