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Archive: October 2004

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O'Neill at the 2003 Pan Am Games
Photo by Grace Chiu

Competing Friday in the qualification round, Edmonton's Brandon O'Neill placed seventh on floor (9.300) and sixth on vault (9.325) to qualify to the finals. On Saturday, O'Neill improved on his qualification score, moving up to sixth place position on floor with a 9.375. The winner was Brazil's Diego Hypolito (9.662), who sat out the 2004 Olympic Games with Brazil qualifying only one male gymnast. Second place went to Tomas Gonzalez Sepulveda of Chile (9.575), with Marian Dragulescu (ROM) in third (9.562).

"It was a good routine," O'Neill said of his floor final, to the Canadian Sport News. "All my tumbling runs were good but unfortunately on one of them I took a step out of bounds and that cost me valuable points."

Today O'Neill posted a 9.174 to equal his sixth place standing from qualifications on vault. Gold went Filip Yanev of Bulgaria, a finalist on this event at the 2004 Olympics. He scored a 9.600. Dragulescu, the controversial bronze medallist on the apparatus at the 2004 Olympics, placed second with a 9.456. Sepulveda placed third with a 9.443. 

Men's Floor Exercise
1. Diego Hypolito BRA 9.662
2. Tomas Gonzalez Sepulveda CHI 9.575
3. Marian Dragulescu ROM 9.562
4. Robert Gal HUN 9.500
5. Ioan Suciu ROM 9.450
6. Brandon O'Neill CAN 9.375
7. Yernar Yerimbetov KAZ 9.337
8. Fabian Hambüchen GER 8.800

Men's Vault
1. Filip Yanev BUL 9.600
2. Marian Dragulescu ROM 9.456
3. Tomas Gonzalez Sepulveda CHI 9.443
4. Diego Hypolito BRA 9.437
5. Leszek Blanik POL 9.256
6. Brandon O'Neill CAN 9.174
7. Robert Gal HUN 9.168
8. Lu Bin CHN 9.081

Full results are available at the British Amateur Gymnastics Association web site.


Shewfelt vaults at the
2004 Olympic Games
Photo by Grace Chiu

Olympic floor champion Kyle Shewfelt of Calgary was on hand earlier today at Toronto’s Olympic Spirit visitors’ center, where he was interviewed by Olympic gold medal rower Marnie McBean, in addition to taking questions from spectators. Shewfelt spoke about many topics, including how he and teammate Alexander Jeltkov traveled to “Harry’s tattoo parlour” outside of Sydney after competing in the 2000 Olympics to get tattooed, which turned out to be a very bloody experience. 

He also shared some thoughts on the controversial result in the Athens vault final, saying that he does not care about the medal, but is more concerned about the credibility of his sport. When asked about his future competition aspirations, and whether that included the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, he answered that he definitely intends to compete at the 2005 world championships in Melbourne, where he hopes to add the title of world champion to his resume. After that he will evaluate on a year-by-year basis.

Shewfelt also revealed another one of his goals - to get as many finger prints as possible on his Olympic gold medal. During the autograph session, many visitors had the opportunity to hold and touch his medal.

Following the presentation, Shewfelt – who earlier had refered to his sport as the “best life ever”, sat down with Gymn.ca for an exlusive interview.


Four athletes attended last weekend's Rushmoore Rosebowl in England. WIMGYM's Dawn Patulli posted the highest overall total for the group, finishing in 16th place. Sport Seneca's Ellen McCarthy, Leslie Mak, and Nicole Heikkila placed 21st, 24th, and 26th, respectively. The competition was won by Aisling Williams, fourth all-around earlier this year at the Junior European Championships.

Patulli competed in two apparatus finals, vault and bars, tying for fifth on the latter. McCarthy equaled that with a fifth place tie in the balance beam final. Neither Mak nor Heikkila competed in an apparatus final. 

Full results are available at the Sutton School of Gymnastics web site.

2004 Rushmoore Rosebowl photos courtesy of Josef Hulka


Calgary's Kyle Shewfelt, one of Canada's brightest stars at the 2004 Olympic Games, will be making a public appearance at the Olympic Spirit Visitor Center in Toronto on Saturday, October 30, 2004. Shewfelt, who became a national hero with his gold medal performance on the floor exercise in Athens, will be answering questions from 12-2 pm, EST.

Hosted by three-time Olympic gold medallist, Marnie McBean, the program is designed to allow guests of Olympic Spirit Toronto to interact with Canada's top athletes. Shewfelt is expected to discuss his background in the sport, as well as his life since winning the Olympic gold. An autograph session will follow.

Sessions are free with the regular price of admission tickets. Tickets are available at the front entrance on a first-come, first-served basis. Members of sport clubs and organizations will receive $2.00 off regular admission on October 30th by indicating their club affiliation to the ticket agent when purchasing a ticket.

The Olympic Spirit Toronto is located at 35 Dundas St. E. at Victoria St., close to the Eaton Centre in downtown Toronto. For more information, visit www.OlympicSpirit.ca.


British Columbia's Julia Semenova, one of Canada's top junior rhythmic gymnasts, captured two medals at the Pan American Championships, held last weekend in San Salvador. Semenova, the reigning junior champion at this year's Elite Canada and Canadian Championships, captured the bronze in the all-around, as well as the silver with the clubs.

There were several difficulties with tabulating of the scores in San Salvador, and as a result, there have been some errors in the rankings. Specifically, it is expected that Burlington's Suzy Lendvay's seventh-best all-around score of 67.950 will be corrected to a 71.050, giving her a fifth-place finish in the event.

Canada also won a gold medal with its group performance, while its team finished second overall to the United States. The all-around was won by Rachel Marmer of the U.S. with an 82.950 total. Her teammate, Julie Zetlin, finished second with 77.250, while Semenova was third with 76.775.

Also noteworthy was the performance of Canada's Katia Zaitseva, who actually finished ninth overall, but the final results were limited to two athletes per country. Zaitseva was the runner up to Semenova at both March's Elite Canada, and June's Canadian Championships.

Individually, Semenova also placed eighth with the rope (16.450), and fifth with the ball (18.750) and ribbon (16.250), in addition to her 19.650 silver medal performance with the clubs. Teammate Lendvay finished just behind Semenova with the ball (18.600, sixth), and fifth with the clubs (18.350). Zaitseva also qualified for an event final, placing eighth with the ribbon (15.000).


Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs
2004 Nationals

Canada earned two more medals at the Junior Pan American championships in El Salvador this weekend as the apparatus finals were contested. Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs, whose sixth place finish had been the team's highest in the all-around competition, took home a silver on the balance beam, while teammate Alyssa Brown, tenth in the all-around, earned a bronze medal on the vault. 

Hopfner-Hibbs scored a 9.375 on the balance beam, just edging out bronze medallist Kassi Price (the all-around winner) who scored a 9.362. American Natasha Kelley took gold with a 9.512. Kelley also won gold on the vault with a 9.30, followed by Jade Barbosa of Brazil with a 9.268, and Brown whose 9.068 was good enough for bronze. Brown was particularly happy with her first vault, a difficult Yurchenko 1 1/2 which carries a 9.7 start value. She told Gymnastics Canada that it was "one of (her) best vaults ever." Hopfner-Hibbs was also satisfied with her performance on the balance beam, noting that she competed a new skill that no one else in the meet was performing.

Canada was well represented in the apparatus finals, with Rebecca Simbhudas finishing sixth in the balance beam with an 8.912 score, and Jennifer Lezeu finishing fifth in the floor exercise with a 9.162. Hopfner-Hibbs and Brown also competed in the uneven bars final, where they finished fifth (9.087) and sixth (8.675) respectively.


Led by 2003 junior national champion Elyse Hopfner Hibbs, the Canadian women took the silver medal in the team competition yesterday at the Junior Pan American Championships in El Salvador. The team from the United States took the gold by a large margin, 111.586 to 106.335, with Brazil close behind in third with a score of 105.974. Hibbs ranked sixth individually, scoring 35.824 with her best marks coming on the uneven bars (9.412) and balance beam (9.2) events. Kassi Price of the United States won the all-around with a score of 37.449, with Mexico's Elsa Garcia finishing second with 37.175, followed by Natasha Kelley of the U.S. who scored 37.05.

Alyssa Brown was the second highest Canadian finisher, scoring 35.024 to finish tenth, with her best mark of 9.0 coming on the vault, the fith highest score in the meet on that apparauts. Jennifer Lezeu, a last minute replacement entry to the team, scored 34.324 to finish 14th, with her top mark of 9.162 (eighth best) coming on the floor exercise. Rebeccas Simbhudas earned the second highest beam score of 9.25, and scored 33.275 to finish 18th overall. Canada will be well represented in the apparatus finals later this weekend with these strong individual results.

Full results can be found at the official USA Gymnastics website.


Brown at the 2004 Canadian
National Championships

The Canadian junior women's team concluded their training camp with the United States with a friendly dual competition in Houston yesterday. The camp served as a preparation for both teams for the upcoming Junior Pan American Championships to be held in El Salvador later this week.

Injuries affected both teams, with Canadian junior champio35,824 n Aisha Gerber unable to make the trip after tweaking her back in training, and junior national runner up Kelsey Hope injuring her foot last week in training. The United States was also competing without two of their top juniors, with Nastia Liukin (two time US junior champion) dealing with a back injury and Jana Bieger (third at this year's junior USA Championships), dislocating her knee at the training camp.

Only four Canadians participated, led by 2003 junior champion Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs of Sport Seneca, who just edged out Mississauga's Alyssa Brown for fifth place all-around, 36.25 to 36.20. This competition used modified scoring, with the start values on each event (except vault) starting at 9.2. The same rules will be used at the Junior Pan American Championships.

According to a report on IG online, Hibbs was especially solid on the balance beam, hitting her aerial cartwheel layout step-out immediate two-footed layout combination, good enough for a 9.500 and fourth place on that event. Hibbs also scored a 9.400 on bars, which also earned a fourth place result.

Sixth all-around, Brown showed new skills and combinations since the national championships, including a Yurchenko 1 1/2 on vault, and a Maloney-Pak combination on bars. Brown's vault earned her a 9.150 score, good enough for the bronze on that event, Canada's top result of the competition.

The other Canadians, Jennifer Lezeu of Cambridge and Rebecca Simbhudas of Pulsar's scored 34.45 and 33.925, respectively. Lezeu scored a 9.150 on floor to take fifth place on that event. The top four all-around positions were held by the Americans. Shayla Worley led the way with a 37.90, followed closely by Bianca Flohr (37.825), Natasha Kelley (37.80), and Kassi Price (37.60).

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