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Archive: February 2004

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Grant Golding captured two more medals today in Portugal, at the Maderia International. Golding topped the field on rings, scoring a 9.450 to take gold. Portugal's own Manuel Campos, and silver medallist from yesterday's all-around, posted an 8.600 for second, with Germany's Fabian Humbuchen finishing third (8.500).

Golding's second medal of the day, a silver, came on parallel bars. The Canadian posted a 9.20, just .05 shy of gold, which was won by Belgium's Gunther Couckhuyt. Bronze was earned by Manuel Campos (POR), who posted a 8.950.

Canadian Casey Sandy competed only in the first two finals of the day, placing last (6th) on both floor (8.550) and pommel horse (7.300). Casey earned bronze in yesterday's all-around, his highest score coming on vault (9.300), though he was mysteriously absent from today's vault finals.

Complete scores can be found at Gymmedia.com.


It was a gold and bronze day for the Canadian men yesterday at the Madeira International in Portugal. Three time world team member Grant Golding of Calgary scored 53.55 to finish nearly a point ahead of Belgium’s Gunther Couckhuyt who posted a 52.65. Burlington’s Casey Sandy, team alternate at last year’s worlds, took a close third with a 52.60.

Though he struggled on high bar with a 7.8 (the only event he did not perform on at 2003 worlds), Golding earned impressive scores of 9.5 in both the rings and parallel bar events. Sandy’s best event was vault, where he earned a score of 9.3.

Complete scores can be found at Gymmedia.com. Competition concludes today with the apparatus finals.

Hicks at 2003 Elite Canada


ASF's Danielle Hicks handily won the all-around title at last night's Retro Boogie competition. Hicks completed the night with a score of 36.00, while achieving first on FX (9.20), and second on the remaining three events. Over a full point behind in second place was Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs (Sport Seneca) with a score of 34.825. Hopfner-Hibbs won the uneven bars title with a 9.30 but fell on floor exercise after attempting a double layout for the first time in competition. Hicks' teammate Marci Bernholtz took third place with a 33.925 and exhibited her best effort on vault (8.925 for 3rd). She also placed third on uneven bars and floor exercise.

Winning the vault title was 2001 world team member Jennifer Simbhudas of Winstonettes, who placed 4th all-around. Lydia Williams (Sport Seneca) competed three events only (no floor exercise) and took the highest score of the night on the balance beam (9.475).


Stone at the 2004 American Cup

Stampede City's Kylie Stone finished sixth all-around in the women's competition at the American Cup, held today in New York City. Stone, 16, scored over 9.0 on all four events, highlighted by a 9.525 on her final event, the floor exercise, to earn a 36.949 total. Stone's new floor routine music is apparently a rendition of an Elvis Presley song.

The competition was won by the United States' Carly Patterson. Patterson, who is also the reigning world all-around silver medallist, was impressive on all four events to earn a 38.949 total, well ahead of runner-up Courtney McCool, also of the USA. Third place went to 2003 Pan Am Games Champion Chellsie Memmel (USA), who also left the 2003 World Championships in Anaheim with two golds (team, bars).

In individual event results, Patterson took the top score on all four events, while Stone scored a 9.312 on vault (piked Luconi, sixth), 9.012 on bars (jump to handstand on LB, 1/2 turn to stalder-hecht; giant 1 1/2 to Jaeger; giant-blind to double front, step forward, seventh), 9.100 on beam (wobbles on switch side and full-twisting tuck jump, seventh), and 9.525 on floor exercise (arabian double front; full-in; two whips to double pike, fourth).

Stone's next competition will be the Olympic Test Event in Athens, which takes place March 17-21.


The American Cup debuted in 1976 at New York City's famed Madison Square Gardens. Romania's Nadia Comaneci won the inaugural women's event, and went on to win gold a few months later in Montreal. This year, the Cup returns to the Gardens. The women's event will see four American Olympic hopefuls compete against Spain's Elena Gomez, Australia's Monette Russo, Ukrainian Irina Yarotska, and Canadian Kylie Stone. Leading the American women is defending American Cup winner Carly Patterson, who will be joined by 2003 World teammates Chellsie Memmel and Terin Humphrey and 2003 Pan Ams gold and silver medalist (team and vault, respectively) Courtney McCool.

Stone's coach, Stephanie Ilesiu, told Gymnastics Canada that "preparations are going very well. Her favorite event right now is the floor and she’s looking forward to showing off her new routine. She’s also added skills on every event."

The American Cup offers $45,000 USD in prize money, and will be broadcast live (joined in progress) this Saturday on NBC, 4-6pm E.S.T.

Also representing Canada this weekend are Grant Golding and Casey Sandy, who are in Portugal for the Madeira Island International. Their event runs Friday through Sunday, and features both men's artistic and rhythmic gymnastics. Some 180 athletes are expected to compete.

Rodrigues at 2003 Elite Canada


Scarborough Gym Elites Gymnastics Club is playing host to next weekend's Retro Boogie competition, which is being held at Centennial College-Progress Campus at Markham Road.

The elite portion of the competition begins Saturday, February 28 at 5 pm, with many of Canada's top junior and senior athletes scheduled to perform. Among those attending include Sport Seneca's Lydia Williams, Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs, and Nicole Heikkila, as well as 2002 National Champion, Danielle Hicks (ASF), and 2001 World team member, Jennifer Simbhudas from Winstonettes. The host club will be led by 2003 Novice national beam champion and Canadian Youth National Team member Laura-Ashley Rodrigues. Also scheduled to compete are 18 athletes from the United States, who primarily hail from Roswell Gymnastics in Atlanta, Georgia.

Scarborough Gym Elites anticipate the attendance of 575 athletes, with approximately 220 using the meet as a provincial qualifier. For more information on the competition, go to Scarborough Gym Elites official website.


Sarah Charles
2003 World T&T Championships
Photo by Grace Chiu

After winning her very first senior national and world titles on the double-mini trampoline last year, British Columbia’s Sarah Charles was recently nominated as a finalist in the 31st Annual Canadian Sport Awards. “My initial reaction was one of shock. To be recognized for this award alongside other great athletes was truly an honour”, says Charles. Recently having turned eighteen years old, Charles is joined by Brittany Reimer (Swimming) and Shannon Rempel (Speed Skating – Long Track) as nominees for the ‘Junior Female Athlete of the Year’ award.

Training at the ‘Okanagan Gymnastics Center’ in Kelowna, Charles is currently being coached by Angelo Despotas who recently moved out west after several years of coaching at the Skyriders Trampoline Place in Toronto, Ontario. After completing high school, she has her sights on pursuing both her academic and athletic careers in Toronto: “Next year I hope to move to Toronto and continue training on both events while studying at the University of Toronto.” If all goes well regarding the move, she plans on being trained by Dave Ross, coach of Olympic bronze medallists Karen Cockburn and Mathieu Turgeon. When asked about her Olympic chances, she is cautiously reminded of the steps she will need to go through in order to make that dream come true: “First I would like to make the World Championships team for the trampoline event. Then, that could even lead to the Olympics”.

Already having met the senior qualification scores for nationals on both the individual trampoline and the double-mini trampoline events, Charles will be vying for two spots on the national team later this season. Her next big competition will be in Calgary for the ‘Canada Cup’: “My ultimate goal is to compete on the senior national team for both events and compete internationally for Canada. The Canada Cup will be the first step for me in order to accomplish my goals”.


With Athens 2004 less than six months away, Gymnastics Canada Gymnastique recently announced a number of international assignments for its athletes:

Madeira Island International · Madeira, Portugal · February 27-29
MAG: Casey Sandy (Burlington), Grant Golding (U of C)

American Cup · NYC · February 28
WAG: Kylie Stone

Cottbus Cup (World Cup) · Cottbus, Germany · March 5-7
MAG: Kyle Shewfelt (Altadore), Brandon O’Neill (Capital City Gym)

Jurassic Classic · Calgary · March 12-13, 2004
WAG team 1: Aimee Balderian (Sport Seneca), Aisha Gerber (Cambridge Kips), Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs (Sport Seneca), Madison Ward (Cambridge Kips)
WAG team 2: Marci Bernholtz (ASF), Jordan Harvie (CGC), Jennifer Lezeu (Cambridge Kips), Erin Sorge (CGC)

World Cup · Aachen, Germany · March 12-13,
Trampoline: Expected to be Karen Cockburn, Mathieu Turgeon, Heather McManus, Michel Greene, Jason Burnett, and Bryan Milonja.

French International (World Cup) · Lyon, France · March 12-14
MAG: Kyle Shewfelt (Altadore), Brandon O’Neill (Capital City Gym)

Athens International Tournament (Olympic test event) · Athens, Greece · March 17-21
WAG: Mélanie Banville (Ottawa), Amélie Plante (Gymnix), Heather Purnell (Ottawa), Kylie Stone (Stampede City), Melanie Tham (Gymnastics Mississauga), Lydia Williams (Sport Seneca)
MAG: Adam Wong (CGC), David Kikuchi (Halifax)
Trampoline: Karen Cockburn, Heather McManus, Mathieu Turgeon

Friendship Classic · Pottsville, PA · March 19-21
WAG: Brittney Habbib (Gemini), Nansy Damianova (Gymnix)

Stella Zhakarova Meet · Kiev, Ukraine · March 27-28
WAG team 1: Katherine Fairhurst (Sport Seneca), Jordan Harvie (CGC), Jennifer Lezeu (Cambridge Kips), Ellen McCarthy (Sport Seneca), Laura-Ann Chong (Abbotsford Twisters)
WAG team 2: Alyssa Brown (Gymnastics Mississauga), Melanie Rocca (Bluewater), Rebecca Simbhudas (Winstonettes), Erin Sorge (CGC)

As well, Jennifer Simbhudas will lead a team from the Winstonettes to the FL Open in Luxembourg. Already this year, Omega has fielded athletes to the 2004 WOGA Classic (Plante also competing) and Gymnastics Mississauga to the 2004 Parkette Invitational.

Finally, the Pacific Alliance Championships are scheduled for April 15-17, 2004 in Hawaii. Canada is expected to field full junior and senior teams for all MAG, WAG, and Rhythmics. The Pacific Alliance Championships are slated for broadcast on NBC May 9, 1pm to 3pm E.S.T. Please check your local listings as the date approaches.

Gymnastics Canada Gymnastique will issue media releases prior to each event, confirming the official delegation attending (athletes, coaches & judges). A number of additional assignments are also expected, as competition dates draw closer.

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