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Archive: July 2004

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JULY 19 - GYMNASTICS CANADA CONFIRMS MACKIE AS SIXTH TEAM MEMBER

Gymnastics Canada Gymnastique has confirmed that Gael Mackie of the Omega Gymnastics Club will be the sixth competing member of the Canadian women's Olympic team. The confirmation took place yesterday, and was supervised by national coach Andrei Rodionenko, women's program director Lise Simard, and Olympic trials judges Hélen Laliberté and Liz Armitage. Marci Bernholtz of ASF will be the team alternate.

Don't forget that this Wednesday at the Winstonettes Gymnastic Association, you can watch the Canadian women's team during their final model training. See the July 14th news flash below for more details.

JULY 14 - WOMEN'S MODEL TRAINING OPEN TO PUBLIC

Winstonettes is currently hosting the Olympic training camp along with Sport Seneca. Two model trainings will be open to the public, both at the Winstonettes Gymnastic facility. These trainings will feature the team practicing routines to prepare for the Olympic Games.

The first model training takes place Friday July 16th and the second Wednesday July 21. Both sessions start with warm-ups commencing at 8:30am, and routines starting at 9:30am. Sessions are expected to wrap-up at 12:30pm. The daily entrance fee is $5 for children and $8 for adults.

Winstonettes Gymnastic Association
185 Clayton Drive, Unit 1
UNIONVILLE, ON L3R7P3
(905) 475-0942


JULY 14 - MACKIE TENTATIVELY NAMED AS SIXTH OLYMPIC TEAM MEMBER

Gymnastics Canada has tentatively named Gael Mackie of Omega Gymnastics as the sixth member of the 2004 Olympic team. Mackie, the 2003 Canadian champion, performed only on the uneven bars on the second day of the Olympic trials to protect a slight knee injury. Mackie's position on the team will be verified July 18, when she will perform on all four events. 

Marci Bernholtz of ASF is currently ranked 7th behind Mackie for a position on the team, and will presumably be team alternate if Mackie's status is affirmed on the 18th. 

The other five team members-Melanie Banville, Amélie Plante, Heather Purnell, Kate Richardson, and Kylie Stone-were confirmed earlier this week, following the Olympic trials.


JULY 12 – GYMNASTICS CANADA ANNOUNCES MEN’S OLYMPIC TEAM

The men’s gymnastics team for the 2004 Olympic games in Athens, Greece, has been finalized following two days of competition this week in Calgary, Alberta. Grant Golding of Calgary and David Kikuchi of Fall River, Nova Scotia earned automatic berths to the Olympic team after finishing 1-2 in the all-around competition at the trials. Calgary's Adam Wong was named to the team immediately following trials.  Alexander Jeltkov, a 1999 world championship medallist on the high bar, and Abbotsford’s Ken Ikeda were later chosen by a coaches’ committee. Nathan Gafuik of Calgary was named team alternate. Fellow Calgarian Kyle Shewfelt received the nomination to the team months ago, after his double bronze medal performance at the 2003 World Championships.

Additionally, Gymnastics Canada Gymnastique announced that Kate Richardson was added to the women's Olympic team tonight by the selection committee. The sixth member will be announced on Monday.


JULY 11 – BANVILLE, PLANTE, PURNELL, AND STONE SECURE OLYMPIC BERTHS

At the conclusion of today’s competition at the women’s Olympic gymnastics trials in Toronto, four gymnasts have been named to the Olympic team. Based a commulative point system including results from this weekend’s trials, last month’s national championships, as well as other international competitions throughout the season, the following four women have been confirmed to represent Canada at the 2004 Olympics next month in Athens, Greece: Melanie Banville of the Ottawa Gymnastics Centre, who was the highest all-around scorer this weekend; Amélie Plante of Gymnix, second all-around this week-end; Heather Purnell of the Ottawa Gymnastics Centre, third all-around at the trials; and Kylie Stone of Stampede City, fourth all-around this week-end, but the winner of the recent Canadian championships.

All four Olympians were emotional as they accepted congratulations from family, friends, fans, and their coaches. Trials winner Banville was overwhelmed when asked what it felt like to be officially named to the Olympic team. “Oh my God I don’t know what to say,” she told Gymn.ca after the competition. “I’m just so happy. It’s amazing.” Banville’s club mate Purnell said that it was “so exciting” to be named to the Olympic team, adding that there will be “a lot of hard training and team building” as the team prepares for Athens. Plante, who had a large cheering section all weekend (echos of “go Amé!” could be heard throughout the competition), said, “I’m just so happy and really satisfied. My goal is accomplished after a lot of hard work.” Stone described her feelings on making the Olympic team as “overwhelming”, adding that “It’s come by so quickly. I can’t believe it’s already happened.”

Crowd favourite
Amelie Plante

Two more gymnasts will be confirmed to the team later tonight, and Gymn.ca will bring you the news as soon as we have it. One gymnast likely to be nominated to the team is Kate Richardson of the Abbotsford Twisters. Richardson had the third highest all-around score at this weekend’s trials. She told Gymn.ca that she was happy to have shown improvement with the new difficulty she has added to her routines and said she had improved since nationals.

Finishing sixth overall at the trials was Marci Berhnoltz of ASF. Bernholtz, who is competing her first year as a senior gymnast, told Gymn.ca “we’ll see. It’s not in my hands. I did what I can do” when asked about her chances for making the Olympic team.

Fifth after the first day had been 2003 national champion Gael Mackie of Omega, who only competed one routine today, putting up an impressive 9.175 on the uneven bars after scratching the first three events with a heavily wrapped knee. Mackie was unavailable for comment after the competition, but her strong bars score today combined with her all-around effort yesterday should still put her in a good position to make the team.

Laura-Ann Chong of the Abbotsford Twisters performed much more solidly today, including an impressive uneven bars routine where she successfully caught her Ricna release move. Chong is the first Canadian to compete this E rated release skill. Jennifer Simbhudas of the Winstonettes struggled again today, but showed the only 9.8 start value on the vault for her layout Luconi. Rounding out the field was 2002 national champion Danielle Hicks of ASF, who performed very well on both of her apparatus today. Hicks will compete for the University of Arizona in the fall.

Stay tuned for the official announcement of the women’s Olympic team. Commentary from this weekend’s competition can be found at http://www.worldgymrank.com/olympictrials. Gymn.ca would like to thank the worldgymrank.com webmaster Matthew Esler for his assistance in covering this weekend’s event. Videos and photos from today’s competition should be available later this evening.


JULY 9 - BANVILLE LEADS WOMEN'S TRIALS

Ottawa Gymnastics Centre's Melanie Banville leads the women's field after day one of the Canadian Olympic trials, being held this weekend at Toronto's Seneca College. With solid performances on all four apparatus, highlighted by a field-leading 9.500 floor routine, Banville earned a 37.325 total to take a 0.75 lead over clubmate Heather Purnell.

"I just went out and gave my best, because I knew I had a pretty good chance [to make the Olympic team] going in, so I was a little more relaxed," Banville told Gymn.ca after the meet. While her best score came on floor, Banville performed well on all four events (stuck Yurchenko 1 1/2 vault, 9.375, as well as equal 9.225 scores for bars and beam).

As for Purnell, minor errors prevented her from challenging her younger teammate, but she remained pleased with her performance. "I still have tomorrow, but yeah, the Olympics are in the back of my mind," she said after the meet, noting that she will be looking to improve her last pass on floor (two whips to a double pike), her leg form on vault, and her performance on uneven bars tomorrow.

Finishing third after day one was a delighted Amelie Plante, who electrified the crowd with a 9.625 uneven bar routine (Def; free-hip, full-pirouette, giant 1 1/2, giant-full, Gienger; bail-1/2 to LB, toe-on to straddle-shoot to HB; stuck double layout), the final routine of the day and the highest score of the meet on any event.

"I was confident, but I wanted to hit it," said Plante, who had some 75 family, friends, and supporters travel to the competition to cheer her on. think [the support from the crowd] helped me a lot - on my last line on floor, my vault, and on my bars dismount."

Plante also added that her third-place finish was just as important to her as her stellar bars effort. "I want to show people that I'm an all-arounder, not just a bars specialist."

Finishing tied for fourth were 2002 Commonwealth Games champion Kate Richardson, and 2004 Canadian all-around champion Kylie Stone. Both athletes suffered major errors (two falls for Richardson on beam, fall on a double front bars dismount from Stone) that marred their otherwise solid efforts.

Sixth all-around went to 2003 Canadian champion Gael Mackie, who has missed a number of competitions due to injury in the past year. Mackie, 15, was generally solid in her first national meet this year, with a major wobble on beam (tuck jump-full) her largest error.

Marci Bernholtz, of the Academy of Sport and Fitness, finished seventh overall after a four-for-four effort. Bernholtz's best performance came on the floor exercise (nice piked full-in first pass), and ended with an improved effort on the uneven bars.

Eighth went to Abbotsford Twister's Laura-Ann Chong. Chong had a strong performance on the uneven bars marred by a fall on a Ricna release element (stalder to immediate Tkatchev). Chong also suffered a near-fall on floor, when she finished very low on her opening double front.

Ninth all-around went to Winstonettes' Jennifer Simbhudas, a member of Canada's 2001 world championship team. Simbhudas took her best score on vault (8.950 for a piked Luconi), but suffered falls on floor (front-full to front-full second pass), and bars (double front dismount).

Hampered by a neck injury, 2002 Commonwealth Games team member Danielle Hicks chose to compete only two events, bars and beam. While her beam effort was a solid one, she suffered two errors on bars, the last event of the day.


JULY 8 - OLYMPIC TRIALS THIS WEEKEND IN CALGARY, TORONTO

Canada's men's and women's Olympic teams will be decided this weekend at two separate venues, thousands of kilometres apart. The men's trials, which began Wednesday, will conclude tomorrow in Calgary, while the women begin two days of competition at Toronto's Seneca College tomorrow.

Ten athletes will compete in the women's trial, including 2003 world championship team members Kylie Stone, Heather Purnell, Melanie Banville, Amelie Plante, and Gael Mackie. They will be joined by 2000 Olympian Kate Richarson, 2002 Commonwealth Games team member Danielle Hicks, 2001 world team member Jennifer Simbhudas, as well as 16 year-olds Laura-Ann Chong and Marci Bernholtz.

At the end of Sunday's competition, four athletes will be named to the Olympic team automatically, based on points accumulated from the national championships (worth 35%), and the Olympic trials (65%). The final two athletes will be chosen based on the strengths and weaknesses of the team, and will be named after a meeting by team officials Sunday night.

Gymn.ca will be on-hand at the women's competition, and will be providing live quick-hits of the meet, beginning at 1:00 pm on Saturday. Rotation-by-rotation updates will also be provided on Sunday, while scores will be updated after each rotation on the Sport Seneca website. Videos and photos will also be made available after the competititon.

For pre-meet quotes from all of the women's competitors, click here.


JULY 7 - GOLDING TOPS DAY 1 OF MEN'S OLYMPIC TRIALS; SHEWFELT SHOWS AMAZING RECOVERY

Canada's top male gymnasts are in Calgary this week, competing at their 2004 Olympic Trials. The men's trials consist of two days of competition, with day 1 contested today at host Calgary Gymnastics Center. With Olympic berths on the line, the atmosphere held an added touch of excitement, adrenaline, and nerves.

The men competed in their assigned Olympic order, starting on vault and finishing on rings. Vault proved an especially difficult apparatus for many of today's competitor, several suffering falls. Kyle Shewfelt, reigning World bronze medallist (vault, floor), showed an amazing comeback after a foot injury suffered in March at the Cottbus Cup. Shewfelt topped the vault standings, with a huge 9.8.

Shewfelt also posted an impressive 9.5 on his second specialty, floor exercise. But it was on high bar where Shewfelt delighted the most, earning a matching 9.5 for a stuck landing. "I've had lots of time to practice!" Shewfelt joked, pointing to his bandaged foot. Renown high bar worker Alexander Jeltkov just edged out Shewfelt, scoring 9.6 to top the field on that apparatus. Jeltkov finished tonight's all-around in fourth place.

The home club's Adam Wong led tonight's competition going into the sixth and final rotation, but was edged out by Grant Golding. The current National Champion managed to pull out a win with a huge 9.60 on rings, to finish the night in first place. Wong finished second overall. Ken Ikeda entered the final rotation tied for second place with Golding-thanks largely to a superior pommel horse routine, on which he scored 9.5-but faltered on his last apparatus (7.65 on rings) to finish the day in sixth place.

David Kikuchi performed consistently throughout tonight's trials, finishing in third place. Nathan Gafuik, the youngest member of the 10-man training squad, showed an excellent fight tonight. His top scoring events were high bar (9.35) and vault (9.30), the latter an event in which he qualified for the event finals at the recent Pacific Alliance Championships.

Casey Sandy, the alternate at last year's World Championships, started the night well with a 9.1 on vault. Troubles ensued on several events following, perhaps the most devastating coming on an event in which Sandy often challenges for titles; pommel horse, where he scored a 7.85. A "hungry" Sandy is sure to emerge Saturday, when the men compete in the second portion of trials.

Brandon O'Neill, who captured a World Cup medal in March (bronze on floor at the 2004 French International in Lyon), competed fiercely with Shewfelt for floor honours tonight. O'Neill won out, posting a 9.6. O'Neill sat out the two most demanding apparatus for the arms, pommel horse and rings. Between events he was seen sporting an iced/taped shoulder. Richard Ikeda also sat out two events, his best scoring routine of the night on pommel horse (9.05, for fourth best score on that apparatus).

1. Grant Golding (54.35)
2. Adam Wong (54.0)
3. David Kikuchi (53.9)
4. Alexander Jeltkov (52.65)
5. Nathan Gafuik (52.4)
5. Ken Ikeda (52.4)
7. Casey Sandy (51.55)
8. Kyle Shewfelt (37.25)
9. Brandon O'Neill (35.9)
10. Richard Ikeda (35.35)

Full results are available at Gymnastics Canada Gymnastique

These same men will compete Saturday, in the second and final portion of their Trials. Saturday's competition takes place at the University of Calgary Red Gym, within the Kinesiology Building. Competition starts at 4pm, and is expected to continue to 6:30pm. Advance tickets may be purchased for $10.00, or $15.00 at the door. 

Also competing Saturday will be Canada's top female gymnasts, with Seneca College (North York, ON) hosting the women's two-day trials. The women's competition runs Saturday and Sunday, from 1pm to 3:30pm. A weekend pass is $20, or $12 per day. For more information please call 416-491-5050 ext. 2316. Gymn.ca will be on hand at these trials.



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