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Archive: December 2004

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DECEMBER 12 - GOLDING MAINTAINS LEAD TO TAKE ELITE CANADA TITLE


Golding wins 2004 Elite Canada
Photo by Grace Chiu
Olympian and current national all-around champion Grant Golding of Calgary maintained his day one lead to capture the men's all-around title at Elite Canada last night. Golding's best effort of the evening was on the still rings apparatus, where his 9.70 score was the highest of the competition on any event. His two day total of 110.605 was nearly three points higher than second place finisher David Kikuchi of Fall River, Nova Scotia. Kikuchi earned 107.866 to narrowly maintain his lead over Adam Wong of Calgary, who scored 107.852 for third. The top three finishers all represented Canada at the Olympic Games in Athens earlier this year. 

Finishing fourth was Olympic alternate Nathan Gafuik, also of Calgary, who had been third after day one, but had the sixth best all-around score on day two. Rounding out the top six were Olympian Ken Ikeda of Abbotsford, whose 9.567 on pommel horse was the highest score on that apparatus, and Edmonton's Jared Walls, who took the day's highest score on floor exercise, a 9.35.

Competition concluded today with apparatus finals for the junior and senior women. Men's apparatus titles were based on day two scores from the all-around competition, with Walls winning floor, Ikeda pommel horse, Golding rings, Gafuik vault, Golding parallel bars, and Wong high bar.

Full scores from Elite Canada can be found at the Gymscore depot site.


DECEMBER 11 - LEMIEUX TAKES JUNIOR TITLE AT ELITE CANADA

Lemieux wins 2004 Elite Canada (Juniors)
Photo by Grace Chiu
Cynthia Lemieux (Gym Richelieu) topped the field in today's Junior all-around competition at the 2004 Elite Canada. Leslie Mak (Sport Seneca) placed second and Dawn Patulli (WIMGYM) third. 

"I can't believe I won!" Lemieux exclaimed to Gymn.ca. "I'm happy. I'm excited. I've been waiting for this." Lemieux placed 11th all-around at least year's Elite Canada (juniors) competition, and earlier this year competed as an individual in the international portion of the Jurassic Classic.

1. Cynthia Lemieux (33.975)
2. Leslie Mak (33.775)
3. Dawn Patulli (33.550)
4. Nansy Damianova
5. Sydney Sawa
6. Caya Colling
7. Nicole Heikkila
8. Dalliah Owen

High Performance competition resumes this evening, with the second day of men's all-around competition. The women take the stage again tomorrow, competing in the event finals.

DECEMBER 11 - O'NEILL FOURTH AT WORLD CUP FINAL

Brandon O'Neill finished fourth on floor exercise at the World Cup final in Birmingham today. O'Neill, who is also the reigning Pan American Games champion on the same event, scored a 9.475. The winner was Diego Hypolito of Brazil, who scored a 9.737 to take the title. Second went to Olympic finalist Isao Yoneda of Japan with a 9.550, while Hungary's Robert Gal was third with 9.537.

DECEMBER 10 - PURNELL WINS ELITE CANADA; GOLDING LEADS MEN AFTER DAY 1

Purnell at 2003 Elite Canada
Heather Purnell won tonight's senior women's all-around, at the 2004 Elite Canada. Ottawa Gymnastics Center (and Olympic) teammate Melanie Banville placed second, with Marci Bernholtz taking bronze. 

Purnell, a member of Canada's 2004 Olympic team, is no stranger to wins at Elite Canada. She won the title in 2002 and 2003. Nevertheless, this year's win came as a bit of surprise to the Stanford-bound gymnast, "I broke my foot after the Olympics," Purnell explained to Gymn.ca. "I didn't know what I'd be capable of competing here. I left out my whip double, and didn't do my regular vaults." Despite the modifications, Purnell came out on top.

Banville also entered the competition unsure of her competitive status. "I was only going to do one or two events, because I've been sick with the flu," Banville told Gymn.ca. "Yesterday I trained the most hours in awhile, but I felt better and so wanted to do four events today."

Bernholtz described her performances today as "pretty good," noting that she came in with the goal of placing top 5. She went on to describe her recent experience at the 2004 Massilia Cup as exciting, especially medalling despite suffering from the flu. Her goal for the next six months is to train hard for Nationals, and hopefully compete in some World Cup events.

2004 Olympic Champion Kyle Shewfelt was on hand before tonight's performances to sign autographs, and later to present the senior women's all-around awards. Shewfelt has returned to training, but is now training out of the University of Calgary.

Day 1 of the men's all-around was also contested tonight in Calgary. Grant Golding (55.404) leads the senior men's all-around by over a full point, with Olympic teammate David Kikuchi in second (54.404). Olympic team alternate Nathan Gafuik (54.181) sits in third place, with the men's all-around competition concluding tomorrow.

Also being contested tomorrow is the junior women's all-around. Women's event finals take place Sunday. Stay tuned to Gymn.ca for more information as it becomes available.


DECEMBER 10 - CANADA'S BEST GATHER IN CALGARY THIS WEEKEND

Canada's best male and female artistic gymnasts are gathering this weekend in Calgary for the annual Elite Canada competition. The event will be the first major competition for Canadian gymnasts since the Olympic Games in Athens almost four months ago. Elite Canada will also represent a rare opportunity to see Canada's best men and women competing together at the same time; typically, the competition is held separately in different locations for the two genders.

Despite the relatively short layoff since the Athens Games, the majority of Canada's Olympians and alternates are expected to be present in Calgary. For the men, all members of the Olympic team except Kyle Shewfelt (not in competitive shape) and Alexandre Jeltkov are scheduled to compete. Brandon O'Neill will also not be attending, as he will be competing at the World Cup finals in Birmingham, England this weekend. Kate Richardson (completing her junior year at UCLA) and Amelie Plante (retired) will be the only members of the women's Olympic team who will not be in attendance.

Competition gets underway today with the senior women's all-around, as well as women's novice day one. The senior and junior men will also begin their competition tonight, and will complete their event tomorrow with a second round of all-around competition. Finally, the junior women will contest their all-around finals tomorrow afternoon. Junior and senior women's event finals are scheduled for Sunday. All competitions will take place at Mount Royal College Gymnasium (Lincoln Park Campus), 4825 Richard Rd. SW, Calgary.

Gymn.ca will be on-hand in Calgary, and will be providing results and reports from the competition as they become available. Continue to check back with Gymn.ca throughout the weekend for all the latest from Elite Canada. Event schedules, lists of competitors, and detailed results can be found at gym-score-depot.


DECEMBER 6 - WILLIAMS ON THE MEND

Williams at last year's
Elite Canada
Canadian world championship team member Lydia Williams is on the mend. After suffering a back injury that ultimately ended her dream of competing in the Athens Olympics, Williams is back in the gym, and is expected to return to competition this weekend at the women's Elite Canada competition in Calgary. There, Williams is scheduled to compete one event, the balance beam, as she continues to prepare her routines for next year's competitive season.

After suffering a stress fracture in her back during training for last April's Pacific Alliance Championships, Williams spent two months in a hard plastic back brace. She was finally given the green light to resume full training in October, and her progress has been steady since then. Both Williams and her coach, Carol-Angela Orchard attribute her quick return to form on a steady regime of conditioning, which Williams maintained throughout her time away from the apparatus.

"Lydia is incredibly motivated and working harder than ever, and that's really saying something considering the fact that Lydia has the most impressive work ethic of any athlete that I have ever had the privilege to coach," Orchard told Gymn.ca. "Missing the Olympic Games was very difficult for her to deal with, but rather than waste valuable time indulging in self pity, Lydia has put all of her energy into a very serious rehab program...She is quite confident that she will be back to a world class international level soon."

While Williams wasn't able to train, she certainly wasn't idle. She recently declared her intentions to compete for the University of California at Berkeley, beginning next fall. Williams, 17, is satisfied with her decision. "There is a great balance of everything that I need in an NCAA program at Cal Berkeley. It is a great school, great location, great staff, but the main factor in my decision to go to Cal Berkeley was the people," she told Gymn.ca. "They are like a big family and I feel I could fit in with the team."

Williams also noted that her new school is expecting a higher level of success in the coming years. "The coaches are in the process of making some major changes to the gymnastics program in order to improve the team. I think it will be a great experience to be a part of a new rising team. Everyone is so excited to make a difference."

While the 2003 Pan American Games team member is looking forward to pursuing her NCAA gymnastics career, it may not mark the end of her competitive career for Canada. "Another thing that was a major factor in choosing a school, was whether I will be able to continue training for Elite gymnastics there, so that I can come back and continue representing Canada internationally. The coaches at Cal seem very capable of helping me with this, and the environment feels suitable for it to happen."

Williams presently has her sights set on representing Canada at the 2005 world championships in Melbourne, Australia.



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