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Archive: June 2003

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Hicks at Gemini in 2002

Former Canadian national champion Danielle Hicks is spending her final weeks of preparation before the upcoming world championship team trials at the Academy of Sport and Fitness under the tutelage of former coach Paula Johnson. Hicks previously trained at ASF from 1999 to 2001, but spent the last two years at Oshawa's Gemini Gymnastics Club under coaches Elena Davydova and Valery Yahchybekov. At Gemini, Hicks claimed the national title, represented Canada at the 2002 Pacific Alliance Championships, where she finished sixth on vault, and at the 2002 Commonwealth Games, where she placed fourth on her speciality, the balance beam.

The second half of 2002 was more frustrating for Hicks, with a lingering back injury ultimately preventing her from competing at the individual apparatus world championships and later Elite Canada. In that time, strain developed between Hicks and the Gemini club, resulting in the decision to move back to ASF. "I needed to be at a club that supports me and makes me feel part of the team," Hicks told Gymn.ca this week. Despite the gym change, Hicks remains close with her former Gemini coaches, Davydova and Yahchybekov, who fought for Hicks' rights as an athlete at Gemini.

At ASF, Hicks has regained her motivation and is enjoying a resurgence with her gymnastics. She has also fully recovered from the ankle injury she sustained at the 2003 Romanian International and has now been cleared to train all four events. Hicks has used the time off to upgrade her uneven bar routine, where she is prepared to debut new elements. She is not yet training full difficulty on floor exercise, however, and as a result, Hicks is not certain whether she will be ready to compete all four events at trials (she will compete at least three). Hicks is also in discussions with several NCAA teams, and is now beginning the recruiting process in earnest.

Her mother, Brenda, has been equally pleased with the change. "We are very lucky that Paula and Danielle are able to work together again," she told Gymn.ca. "This is a lot of work for Paula to pick up an athlete in her last year [prior to NCAA gymnastics] and she is a good person. She is re-organizing everything around Danielle and her needs. I don't know of any other club that would do that at the last minute."

Canada's best female athletes will converge on Toronto for the world championship team trials at Seneca College from July 12-13. Gymn.ca will be providing extensive coverage of the meet, which will help to select the six athletes that will represent Canada at the upcoming world championships in Anaheim, California.


Rhythmic superstar Mary Sanders, who sports dual citizenship with Canada and the United States, is competing in her second U.S. National Championships this weekend. Sanders, who trains at Ritmika Rhythmic Club in Toronto, outscored silver medalist Olga Karmansky (Isadora Rhythmics; 99.900) by almost 10 full points Friday, to take the all around title for the second straight year. Lisa Wang of Rhythmic Gems finished third (96.275).

Sanders recently officially declared her intent to compete soley for the United States. "It was a huge step to take and a big risk because it could end my career just as easily as start it," Sanders told USAG. "I talked to my coach and she stuck by my side no matter what I did, and I got a lot of support from the U.S. The environment here is great and the people are amazing."

Championships continue today in Milwaukee, with the men contesting the all around title and the rhythmic ladies contesting individual event titles. Results are being posted to USA Gymnastics.

Update: Sanders won all four event titles in the senior rhythmic competition!


Alexandra Orlando
Courtesy of Tom Theobald

Bao Bao Dou (BC) continued on her winning streak, just one medal shy of a gold medal sweep. Dou captured three gold (free, hoop, ball) and one silver (rope). All around runner Demetra Mantcheva (BC) up was the gymnast, who stopped her, took gold in the rope and three silvers in the remaining apparatus. Ontario’s Laura Chin won two bronze medals (free, ball), while Martina Vortel (BC) and Jacqueline Man (ON) each earned a bronze for their rope and hoop routines respectively.

In the junior competition, Ontario’s Stefanie Carew revenged her 2nd place in the all around by claiming three gold medals in hoop, clubs, and ribbon, and a silver in rope. However, Junior Champion Jessica Krushen (BC) matched her gold from yesterday in the rope event, as well as taking home three additional silver medals in the other apparatus. Nathalie Ngo’s consistent performances earned her a bronze medal in each of the apparatus finals.

Senior standout Alexandra Orlando (ON) extended her domination, completing her gold medal sweep for a total of five throughout the competition. BC’s Megan Hui earned three silver medals (hoop, ball, clubs), but trouble in ribbon opened the door for Judy Berecz, who also secured the bronze in the ball and club events. Yana Tsidaridze (QP) finished the weekend with two bronze medals in rope and ribbon.

Team Ontario claimed the Tamara Bompa Cup, which is awarded to the top province. In addition the following teams were also announced:

- Pan American Games – Alexandra Orlando, Megan Hui (coach Mimi Masleva) and the National Senior Group (Roxana Cervantes, Irina Funtikova, Pamela Jewell, Emilie Livingston, Sarah Stock – coach Zdravka Tchonkova)

- World Championships – Alexandra Orlando, Megan Hui, Judy Berecz and the National Senior Group

- Aeon Cup – Ritmika RSG Club (Alexandra Orlando, Carly Orava, Nathalie Ngo).

Complete results will soon be available on RGC.ca.


The Junior all around came down to the wire, however the supple and charismatic Jessica Krushen (Okanagan, BC) took top spot over the consistent and technically superb Stefanie Carew (Seneca, ON) by the smallest of margins – 75.783 to 75.766. Nathalie Ngo slipped one spot on the National team to claim the bronze medal.

BC’s Julianna Semenova (Academy – 68.333) had some difficulty with clubs, but managed to earn fourth position, meanwhile ribbon trouble did not stop Katia Zaitseva from securing fifth position. The remaining positions on the National team were filled by Suzy Lendvay (Burlington, ON – 64.933), Brihana Mosienko (Academy, BC – 63.499), and Tracey Chu (HPTC, MB – 61.784).

Alexandra Orlando
Courtesy of Tom Theobald

The Senior All around was virtually in the bag; nevertheless Ontario’s Alexandra Orlando (Ritmika) gave the audience a treat with her spunky style and risky routines as she clinched the championship title with a score of 90.550. Megan Hui (Aura, BC), whose injury earlier on in the season kept her from competing at Elite Canada, combined solid routines with great improvements to earn her the silver medal (71.875). The strong and powerful Judy Berecz (Edmonton, AB) came in third with 71.550. Yana Tsikaridze (Questo, QP – 69.325), who possesses tremendous presence on the floor, rounded out the top four.

Former junior standout, Olesia Zakon (Club Elite, BC) continues her impressive transition to senior despite slipping a few places on the National Team (68.80). Following her is another first year senior, Ontario’s Carly Orava (Ritmika), who’s consistent performances earned her sixth place with a score of (67.20). Rounding out the top eight were two more Ontario athletes, Diana Kwon (Kalev, ON - 65.80), and Rachel Cossar (York Stars, ON – 64.975).

Apparatus finals will begin Sunday featuring the top eight athletes in each event.


The Novice all around concluded today at the 2003 National Championships with a west coast sweep. A veteran despite her youth, Bao Bao Dou (Club Elite, BC) claimed the Novice title with a comanding 62.767. The very expressive Demetra Mantcheva (Aura, BC) came in at 59.00 for the silver medal, while her teammate Ekaterina Yakubovich earned the bronze with 58.283.

Representing the other side of the country, New Brunswick's Rosie Cossar (Romanesc) used her long lines to take fourth place with a score of 54.582. A trio of the host province's athletes claimed the next three positions; Natalia Murzenko (Kalev, ON - 54.217), Laura Chin (York Stars, ON - 53.850), and Jacqueline Man (Ritmika, ON - 53.649). Coming in eighth position was Edmonton RG's Caitlin Marchak.

After two apparatus in the Junior division, defending National Champion Stefanie Carew (Seneca, ON) leads the way. However, experienced Jessica Krushen (Okanagan, BC), Nathalie Ngo (Ritmika, ON), and Julianna Semenova (Academy, BC) are hot on her heals.

The overall results will be awarded in both the Junior and Senior categories tomorrow.


The 2003 Canadian National Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships begin tomorrow at Toronto's Humber College. The competition will feature the best athletes in Novice, Junior and Senior levels, and serve to select athletes to the World Championship and Pan American Games teams, as well as qualify athletes to the 2004 Elite Canada National Team selection event.

Gymn.ca's rhythmic correspondant Erika-Leigh Stirton will be on hand and provide updates on the event.


Heather McManus,
named to World Cup team

After a strong showing at the national championships in Saskatoon last month, Canada's best trampolinists are ready to take on the world at next weekend's World Cup event, which will be held in Levallois, France. The athletes will depart Monday of next week, and compete on the 13th and 14th of June.

The Canadian trampoline and tumbling community also received more good news this week, when the 2007 World Championships for Tumbling and Trampoline, which will also serve as the Olympic selection for the 2008 Games, will be held in Quebec City. Together, Gymnastics Canada Gymnastique and Quebec's Gymnastics Federation will work enthusiastically to make this event into a major success.

Also, be sure to catch the official broadcast of the T&T finals at the Canadian National Championships, which will be aired June 14th on CBC at 14:00-15:00 (EST).

The following athletes will comprise the delegation headed to France next week for the World Cup, in ranked order:

Men's trampoline:
1. Mathieu Turgeon, 2000 Olympic Games medallist
2. Bryan Milonja, 2003 Canada Cup champion
3. Michel Greene, 7-time Canadian champion
4. Adam Menzies, 4th at the 2003 Canada Cup

Women's trampoline:
1. Karen Cockburn, 2000 Olympic bronze medallist
2. Heather McManus, 6th at the 2002 Edmonton World Cup
3. Savija McManus, 11th at the 2002 Edmonton World Cup

Men's tumbling:
1. Dennis Vachon, 2003 Canadian champion
2. Cole Roycroft, 2003 Canadian championships runner-up
3. David Cowen, 2001 World Championships team member

Women's tumbling:
1. Emily Smith, 2003 Canadian champion
2. Neisha Davis, 2001 World Championships team member

Head of delegation: Marin Debruyn; Coaches: Karina Kosko, Trish Quinney, Don Holmes; Judge: Gabrielle Gingras.


Kikuchi was Canada's
top finisher

Canada's men's gymnastics team was topped by a world-class squad from France at a dual meet in Montreal yesterday. The French team, who narrowly missed the bronze medal at the 2001 world championships, compiled a 218.118 total. The Canadian team, which included world championship team contenders David Kikuchi, Alexandre Jeltkov, Grant Golding, Rhett Stinson, Kyle Shewfelt, and newly-crowned three-time national champion Richard Ikeda, totalled 216.586 for second place.

In the all-around competition, France's Dmitri Karbanenko finished first with 55.167, just ahead of teammate Pierre Yves-Beny, with 55.000. Canada's best finisher was Kikuchi, who finished third all-around with a 54.684 total. Jeltkov finished seventh.

Competition continues today with the event finals. Complete results will be posted once they become available.

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