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Archive: December 2003

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DECEMBER 14 - SANDY FIFTH AA, FIRST ON VAULT AT LIUKIN INVITE

2003 World team alternate Casey Sandy took fifth all-around at the Valery Liukin International Invitational in Plano, Texas yesterday. Sandy also took the highest individual score in the vault competition, with an impressive 9.65 en route to a solid all-around total of 54.275. The winner in the all-around was Yernar Yerimbetov of Kazakhstan, who finished 4th all-around at the most recent world championships, who scored 56.75. The host of this event, Valery Liukin, co owner of the World Olympic Gymnastics Academy where the meet is held, is also from Kazakhstan. Americans Brett McClure and Steve McCain finished second and third respectively with scores of 55.80 and 54.875.


DECEMBER 13 - HARVIE SILVER ON VAULT AT CANBERRA CUP

Harvie at last
weekend's Elite Canada

Tenth in yesterday's all-around, today Jordan Harvie won silver on vault at the event finals of the Canberra Cup. The event was won by Australia's Alyce Arrowsmith, who yesterday placed third all-around. Arrowsmith also placed first on floor.

Harvie also competed on beam, where she placed 5th. China was golden on the event, with Hou Liu taking top honours. China also won bars, with Juan Liu leading the pack.

Vault:
1. Arrowsmith (AUS)
2. Harvie (CAN)
3. Woodward (AUS)
4. Lisle (Wales)
5. Pugh (Wales)

Bars:
1. Juan Liu (CHN)
2. Pugh (Wales)
3. Arrowsmith (AUS)
4. Hou Liu (CHN)
5. Joura (AUS)

Beam:
1. Hou Liu (CHN)
2. Munro (AUS)
3. Juan Liu (CHN)
4. Arrowsmith (AUS)
5. Harvie (CAN)

Floor:
1. Arrowsmith (AUS)
2. Munro (AUS)
3. Blount (AUS)
4. Lisle (Wales)
5. Joura (AUS)


DECEMBER 12 - HARVIE PLACES 10TH AT CANBERRA CUP

Jordan Harvie of Calgary Gymnastics Centre today placed 10th AA at the 2003 Canberra Cup. The prestigious Canberra Cup is held every other year, and this year included competitors from China, Japan, Wales, Canada, and host country Australia. The meet was won by China's Juan Liu (35.200), with Australians Melissa Munro (34.818) and Alyce Arrowsmith (34.451) rounding out the podium.

Harvie, who placed third AA at the recent Elite Canada (juniors), left for Australia mid-way through event finals at Elite Canada, missing participation in the medal ceremony (she placed second on bars). Look for Harvie to compete in tomorrow's vault and beam finals in Canberra, where she qualified 5th and 6th, respectively.

Harvie's Calgary Gymnastics Centre's teammate Erin Sorge was also scheduled to attend, but was injured just prior to Elite Canada.

Full results from today's AA are available at Gymnastics Australia.


DECEMBER 9 - KIKUCHI DOMINATES MEN'S ELITE CANADA

Kikuchi at last
year's Elite Canada

David Kikuchi used two solid days of competition to propel himself to the top of the podium at men's Elite Canada, which took place in Calgary this weekend. Kikuchi, 23, led from start to finish over two days of competition to take the men's title with a total score of 109.278 points (54.750 day one, 54.528 day two), almost 2.5 points ahead of surprise silver medallist Adam Wong, who scored 106.786 (53.120, 53.666). Wong, a junior last year, held off a hard-charging Alexandre Jeltkov, who came back strong after finishing sixth on day one to take the highest score of day two (106.728 total, 51.800 day one, 54.928 day two).

Finishing fourth was 2003 world team member Casey Sandy with 106.068, while Pan American Games gold medallist Brandon OíNeil of Edmonton finished fifth with 104.455. Defending national champion Richard Ikeda of Abbotsford, B.C. rounded out the top six (103.720).

The convincing win puts Kikuchi in good position heading into the Olympic year, where Canada will field a full men's team for the first time since 1988. The top two athletes after this year's Elite Canada and next June's national championships earn automatic berths to the Olympic Trials, where the final team will be selected. Elite Canada counts 30% towards the combined total.


DECEMBER 7 - EIGHT DIFFERENT CHAMPIONS AT WOMEN'S ELITE CANADA

Gael Mackie wins beam
at Elite Canada today

Eight different athletes took home titles in the event finals of women's Elite Canada, which concluded today in Mississauga. In the senior women's competition, all-around champion Heather Purnell took home the gold on vault with a 9.337 average. Purnell vaulted a 1 1/2 twisting layout Yurchenko and a piked Luconi, which are both worth 9.9 under Canadian scoring models.

Seneca athletes took the top two spots in the uneven bar final, with Vanessa Meloche edging teammate Lydia Williams, 9.600 to 9.575. Both athletes executed outstanding routines, with 9.9 SV according to FIG rules. Meloche gave both the audience and her coaches a scare when she landed her double front dismount stiff-legged, resulting in a minor knee strain. As a precaution, Meloche was assisted off the floor, and missed receiving her gold medal at the awards ceremony, though she was able to wave to the crowd from the athletic therapist's table.

All-around co-runner-up Gael Mackie took home the gold on her best event, the balance beam, scoring a 9.250 to finish ahead of her co-silver medallist, Melanie Banville. Banville also won the silver on vault behind teammate Purnell.

Banville finally broke through for her first gold medal of the competition on the last event of the day, floor exercise. There, she earned a 9.600 score out of a possible 10.2 start value (under Canadian models), despite stepping out of bounds on her first tumbling pass (excellent piked full-in). Purnell finished second with a 9.475 for her third medal of the meet.

In the junior event finals, Jennifer Lezeu of the Cambridge Kips won the vault with a 9.237 score (powerful full-twisting Yurchenko). Seneca's Nicole Heikkila won bars with an 8.675 score to edge out Calgary's Jordan Harvie (8.625) and Mississauga's Alyssa Brown (8.600). Brown came back strong to take the beam title with a strong exercise for a 9.475, which was a full seven tenths better than Gym-Richelieu's Cynthia Lemieux, the runner-up. Brown earned her fifth medal of the competition when she took home a bronze on floor (she also won the silver in the junior all-around on Saturday). The gold was won by Flicka's Heather Mareniuk, who tallied a 9.275 to take the title over Winstonettes' Rebecca Simbhudas. Simbhudas also won the bronze on beam.

Complete results of Women's Elite Canada can be found by clicking here.


DECMEBER 6 - DEFENDING CHAMPIONS REPEAT AT ELITE CANADA

The defending junior and senior all-around champions held onto their crowns at the women's Elite Canada competition this week-end at Gymnastics Mississauga. In the senior women's all-around Friday night, world team member Heather Purnell of Ottawa scored 36.925 en route to victory - a full point over clubmate Melanie Banville of Long Sault, ON, who tied for second with reigning Canadian champion Gael Mackie of Vancouver with a 35.925. Finishing a close fourth was Toronto's Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs, the 2003 Canadian junior champion, just a tenth behind with 35.825. Hibbs is note age eligible for next year's Olympic Games. World team member Lydia Williams of Toronto scored 35.625 to finish fifth, and Oshawa's Katherine Fairhurst rounded out the top six, scoring 34.625.

In the junior women's all-around event held this afternoon, defending champion Aisha Gerber held on to victory despite two falls on balance beam in the last rotation, as well as mistakes on bars and floor. Still, Gerber was extremely impressive with her strong level of difficulty and beautiful artistic presentation. On her first event, the floor exercise, she sat down a double pike fourth pass after hitting an arabian double front, a tucked full-in, and a 1 1/2 through to triple twist third run. On bars, a miscue after a stalder forced her to omit her Jaeger release move, yet she recovered to catch a beautiful Hindorff after missing it in warmups. On beam, after a nice opening sequece of handstand step-down into layout-layout-back pike, she later missed an Onodi and a side somersault. But all in all it was more than enough to take the title.

Home club favourite Alyssa Brown thrilled the Gymnastics Mississauga audience with a silver medal performance. Brown formerly competed for the Burlington Gymnastics Club and last competed at this meet in 2001, where she made finals on vault and floor exericise, but has seen little competition since. She showed top skills throughout, including a Hristakieva on vault, switch leap to wolf jump-full, one armed ff-layout, double tuck off beam, and two whips to double pike and 2 1/2 twist on floor.

Jordan Harvie of the Calgary Gymnastics Center, last year's novice Elite Canada winner, presented one of the most balanced programs of the day, with very clean and artistic yet powerful work. On beam, she had an unfortunate touch down on her double tuck dismount (from two back handsprings) after a gorgeous routine with a great variety of skills: full twisting back handspring, one armed ff-layout, switch ring leap, aerial walkover. Her vault was a powerful Yurchenko-full, and she also showed four tumbling passes on floor for good measure: two whips through to 2 1/2 twist, double pike, front double twist, double twist.

Competition concludes tomorrow with the event finals for juniors and seniors. Gymn.ca hopes to provide more reports, including photos and videos, in the coming days.


The menís Elite Canada meet is concurrently under way in Calgary, Alberta, with world team member David Kikuchi of Halifax leading senior all around after the first day with a total of 54.75 points. Former junior stand-out Adam Wong of Calgary, is currently second with 53.12 and world team alternate Casey Sandy of Burlington, Ontario is third at 53.99. Richard Ikeda of Abbostsford, B.C., sits in fourth with a 52.17, Nathan Gafuik of Calgary fifth at 51.99 and Alexander Jeltkov of Montreal sixth at 51.80.


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