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Archive: February 2005

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The Canadians had a strong showing at today's apparatus finals at the American Cup in New York, New York. Traditionally an all-around competition, this year’s edition of the American Cup featured individual apparatus finals only, having joined the FIG’s world cup circuit. Canada was featured in seven of the ten finals contested today, and earned it’s best result with the final routine of the day, where Olympic alternate Marci Bernholtz tumbled her way to fourth place on floor exercise, narrowly missing the bronze medal won by Great Britain’s Beth Tweddle, 9.387 – 9.412. Bernholtz, whose routine was carried live by NBC sports, tumbled a double layout, piked full-in, two whips through to 2 ½ twist, and double pike en route to a 10.0 SV (a two tenth improvement from yesterday’s preliminaries). The gold medal on floor exercise went to Olympic bronze medallist Patricia Moreno of Spain, who edged out American Alicia Sacramone by a close margin, 9.587 - 9.537. Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs also showed well on floor, finishing seventh with a 9.037 despite going out of bounds. She also showed world class tumbling, including a piked full-in and Arabian double front.

The Canadian women were less successful on their first two events, with Bernholtz falling on both vault attempts (Yurchenko 1 ½ and handspring piked front) to finish eighth in that final with an 8.5 average. Hopfner-Hibbs had numerous problems on the uneven bars to finish eighth with a 7.625, after hitting her feet on the bar after her Jaeger and struggling to finish some pirouettes in her routine. The vault event was won by world cup champion Sacramone, with teammate Melanie Sinclair taking silver and Cheng Fei of China the bronze, scoring 9.387, 9.249, and 9.331 respectively. World and world cup uneven bars champion Chellsie Memmel took gold on her speciality, scoring 9.6 to outdo China’s Liu Juan who scored 9.575. Spain’s Tania Gener scored 9.512 for bronze. Bernholtz also competed well on uneven bars, scoring 8.612 to finish seventh. Memmel also took bronze on the balance beam, scoring 9.412 to finish being China’s Zhang Nan and American Nastia Liukin, who tied for first with a 9.587. Hopfner-Hibbs make a good comeback after her bars miss, fighting for every element en route to an 8.75 score, good enough for sixth.

For the men, Canada’s best result came on the parallel bars, with Olympian and national all-around champion Grant Golding taking fifth with an impressive 9.325 out of a 9.9 start value. Many of the men’s scores were lower at this competition, due to a recent FIG rule change lowering the men’s base score from 8.8 to 8.4, requiring four extra tenths of bonus points. Golding’s jam pack routine included a giant-full to double back, a healy from one bar to healy, a double pike between the bars, and a double pike dismount. Japan’s Kayuza Ueda took first on the event with a 9.587, just edging out Puerto Rico’s Luis Varga who took 9.575. Spain’s Manuel Carballo took home bronze with a 9.537. All three medallists had the maximum start value of 10.0.

Earlier in the day, Olympic alternate Nathan Gafiuk finished sixth on floor exercise with a score of 8.8 that included a step out of bounds. Jeffrey Wammes of the Netherlands won gold, scoring 9.225, followed by Alexander Artemev of the USA (9.112), and Luis Rivera of Puerto Rico (9.037). Gafiuk also competed in the vault final, where a fall on his opening Yurchenko 2 ½ dropped him to eighth place with an 8.818 average. Wammes took his second gold of the day on this event, averaging 9.456 to beat out Roel Rameriz of the Phillipines (9.312) and Rivera (9.2). Other event medallists for the men were Artemev (9.362), Japan’s Hisashi Mizutori (9.312), and Croatia’s Robert Seligman (9.1) on pommel horse, Yuri Van Gelder of the Netherlands (9.75), Bulgarian veteran Jordan Jovtchev (9.687) and the USA’s Eric Lamorte (9.625) on the rings, with France’s Yann Cucherat taking the final gold medal of the day on high bar (9.612), followed by co silver medallists Mizutori and Justin Spring of the USA who both scored 9.50.

Last night, a Canadian women’s team participated in a tri-meet against teams from the United States and Mexico. Canada finished a close second to the USA, 108.75 to 107.975. Mexico finished third with a 101.25. Natasha Kelley of the US took the highest all-around score of 37.0, with Canadian Olympian Heather Purnell finishing second with a 36.0 despite injuring her knee on vault, the team’s final apparatus. Kylie Stone, one of four Olympians competing on the Canadian team, took third with 35.90, scoring a high 9.5 on the balance beam and also performing her piked Arabian double front on floor exercise. Other Canadian results included Olympian Melanie Banville in seventh with a 35.55, and Brittnee Habbib contributing three events (no uneven bars) for a 25.675, and Olympian Gael Mackie competing on uneven bars and balance beam only, for a 17.50 combined score.

Full results from this week-end’s competitions can be found at http://www.usa-gymnastics.org/events/2005/americancup/.


Hopfner-Hibbs in NYC
Photo by 
Sandy Kost-Sterner

Canadian gymnasts had a successful day of qualification at the American Cup today, qualifying for a combined ten events. Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs led the way for Canada, making finals on all three events in which she was entered.

In the women's events, Olympic alternate Marci Bernholtz qualified for the vault final in eighth place with an 8.575 average. Bernholtz vaulted a new 1 1/2 twisting Yurchenko (8.600 with a fall), and a handspring piked front (8.550).

On bars, both Hopfner-Hibbs and Bernholtz qualified for finals with fifth and seventh-place finishes, respectively (both athletes tied for their positions). Hopfner-Hibbs scored a 9.250 for her routine out of a possible 9.900 start value (giant 1 1/2 to Jaeger), while Bernholtz scored an 8.875 (Tkatchev, double pike dismount).

Hopfner-Hibbs had a solid effort on the balance beam, scoring a 9.125 out of a 9.700 to finish fifth (two layouts; switch leap to double turn; double tuck dismount), while Bernholtz was less fortunate, suffering two falls for a 7.700 total and 14th place.


Finally, both athletes made the eight-athlete cut for finals on floor. Hopfner-Hibbs scored an 8.975 to make her third final in seventh place, while Bernholtz (double layout; piked full-in; two whips to double pike; 2 1/2 twist) finished eighth with 8.825.

In the men's competition, Olympic alternate Nathan Gafuik qualified for the floor exercise final with an 8.750 that was good enough for equal fifth in a 21-athlete field. Gafuik earned the score despite going out of bounds. Olympian Grant Golding also competed on floor, but fell on his first tumbling pass to score only 7.950 for 15th. Neither athlete qualified for the pommel horse final.

On rings, Golding made the cut for finals in eighth place with a 9.000 score, and also took Canada's best result of the day with an equal third-place effort on parallel bars. Gafuik qualified for his second final on vault by finishing seventh with a 9.000 average, but just missed out on making the high bar final with a tenth-place effort (Kolman, 8.800).

American Cup competition continues tonight with the women's USA/Canada/Mexico tri-meet at 7:00 EST, while event finals for the men and women get underway tomorrow at 2:30. Tomorrow's competition will be carried live on NBC, starting at 4:00 EST.


This year, after the preliminary round for the American Cup, audiences will be treated to a women's tri-meet between the USA, Canada, and Mexico. Leading team Canada are four Olympians from Athens, Gael Mackie, Melanie Banville, Heather Purnell, and Kylie Stone. The newcomer is Britnee Habbib.

The team event gets underway Friday, February 25th at 7pm.

Competing in the American Cup competition are Marci Bernholtz, Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs, Grant Golding, and Nathan Gafuik. Their competition begins Friday, February 25th at 1pm with finals contested on Saturday. The competition goes live on NBC at 4pm EST. (See January 27 News Flash)


Shewfelt at the 2003 Worlds
Photo by Grace Chiu
Kyle Shewfelt, who last summer won Canada's first gold medal at the 2004 Olympic Games, a gold on floor exercise, is a finalist for the 32nd Annual Canadian Sport Awards. The winners will be announced March 29 at an awards gala in downtown Toronto at the John Bassett Theatre.

Yesterday, the True Sport Foundation officially announced the list of 41 finalists in five award categories. Also vying for Male Athlete of the Year are Benoit Huot (Swimming) and Adam Van Koeverden (Kayaking).

Gymnastics received the nod in two other categories, with Kelly Manjak nominated for Coach of the Year and Slava Corn for the Volunteer Achievement Award. Manjak coached Shewfelt to two Olympic Games, and now coaches at Gymnastics Mississauga. Slava Corn has dedicated over 30 years to the sport of gymnastics, and since 1992 has served on the F.I.G.

For more information, please visit the True Sports Foundation.


Casey Sandy at 04 nationals
Casey Sandy, a member of Canada's 2003 world championship team, finished fifth all-around at the USA's Winter Cup earlier tonight. Sandy, who was competing as an international guest, took the top score of the night on pommel horse (9.300), and the third highest score on vault (9.500) en route to a 52.299 total. He had ranked fourth after competing in the first of two subdivisions at the Winter Cup, finishing fifth overall after the second.

Also competing at the Winter Cup, which serves as a national re-ranking meet for the top male gymnasts in the United States, was Canadian Olympian Adam Wong. Wong, 19, finished with the top all-around total among athletes who competed in five events. Wong competed all events except the vault for a 42.299 score, good enough for 4th overall, out of 85 competitors.

The winner of the competition was David Durante of the United States Olympic Training Centre with 53.815. Guillermo Alvarez finished second, while Todd Thornton finished third.

Full results of the 2005 Winter Cup are available here.

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