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Archive: January 2005

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USA Gymnastics today released an updated roster for their 2005 American Cup. Included on that roster are Canada's Marci Bernholtz and Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs. (Canada is also expected to field two male gymnasts, but no formal announcement has been made).

Last year Bernholtz served as the Olympic team alternate, traveling to France alongside the team for pre-Olympic training and competition. At the recent 2004 Elite Canada she finished third all-around, behind Heather Purnell and Melanie Banville. Hopfner-Hibbs enjoyed a strong junior career, competing alongside the seniors in 2004 though one year shy of age eligibility for Olympic consideration. She tied for eighth place at the recent 2004 Elite Canada.

"I am excited about this great opportunity," Bernholtz told Gymn.ca. "I think that the American Cup will be a great experience, and I am looking forward to it." Bernholtz is optimistic about leading off her 2005 season with the American Cup, "I feel that this will be a great opportunity for the international judges to get a chance to see my routines and is a good stepping stone for the coming year."

A number of Olympians are expected to compete at this year's American Cup including the USA's Mohini Bhardwaj, China's Zhang Nan and Cheng Fe, Brazil's Daiane Dos Santos and Daniele Hypolito, Spain's Patrician Moreno and Rafael Martinez, Bulgaria's Jordan Jovtchev, Latvia's Evgeni Sapronenko, and more.

The American Cup debuted in 1976, with Bart Conner and Nadia Comaneci crowned inaugural all-around winners. This year the American Cup departs from its traditional all-around status, focusing on individual event competition and joining ranks as an International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) World Cup competition. The American Cup is the second World Cup of the new series, with last November's DTB Pokal in Stuttgart serving as the kick-off event. The World Cup final will be hosted in Brazil.

This year's American Cup takes place at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on Long Island, N.Y. Qualifications take place February 25th, with finals on February 26th. Watch for live television coverage February 26, on NBC Sports from 4-6 p.m.


Photo courtesy of Sandy Kost-Sterner
WIMGYM's Dawn Patulli led a strong Canadian effort at the 2005 WOGA Classic, with a three medal performance in the junior women's competition last night. Patulli, who finished third all-around at December's Elite Canada, and was fourth at last year's junior Canadian championships, scored 34.916 to finish second all-around behind Darya Zgoba of the Ukraine. In an odd twist of events, Zgoba, who will turn 16 this year, competed in the junior division, despite being a senior athlete. Patulli also won bronze medals on the balance beam (8.750) and floor exercise (8.850) to complete her three-medal haul.

Finishing seventh all-around was Gemini's Kelsey Hope (33.341). Hope also won two individual event medals, taking bronze on vault (9.000), and silver on uneven bars (9.016). Top ten all-around finishes were also obtained by Omega's Brittany Rogers (33.333, eighth), and Calgary's Jordan Harvie (33.133, tenth). For Hope and Harvie, the WOGA Classic was their first full competition since returning from injuries sustained last year. Both had competed select events only at last month's Elite Canada.

Also representing Canada were Gemini's Kristina Vaculik and Omega's Charlotte Mackie, finishing 15th and 16th, respectively, while Calgary's Erin Sorge and Sydney Sawa were 19th and 20th.

In the senior women's competition, Gemini's Brittnee Habbib also had a strong performance, finishing fifth all-around (33.141) and winning silver on uneven bars (8.566). Habbib's medal brought Canada's total for the competition to six. The winner of the women's all-around, as well as all four individual events, was WOGA's Nastia Liukin. Liukin, who will make her highly-anticipated debut as a senior this year, won the all-around competition by almost three points over her nearest rival.

Rodionenko with Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs
and Sport Seneca coach Lawson Hamer
2002 Junior High Performance training camp


Gymnastics Canada Gymnastique today announced the departure of its Women’s National Coach, Andrei Rodionenko, who recently accepted the position of Technical Director for Artistic Gymnastics for the Russian Gymnastics Federation.  

"Gymnastics Canada is an excellent organization that I am proud to have been associated with,” said Andrei Rodionenko. "I am sad to leave the wonderful people that I have worked with all these years. I have seen in this country a level of dedication that is to be commended. There are many very capable people who will ensure that Women’s Artistic Gymnastics has an even brighter future as the current situation is very promising. I wish Gymnastics Canada well in the coming years."

Rodionenko gained fame as the head men's coach of the Soviets in the 1970s, and later working with the Soviet women's gymnastics team. After the break-up of the Soviet Union he spent some time with the Australian Gymnastics Federation. Daughter Lada is married to former hockey star Vyacheslav Fetisov, now Russian Minister of Sports.


The WOGA Classic once again holds distinction as the first International Elite competition of the year. The competition boasts athletes from seven countries, including Australia, Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, New Zealand, Canada, and USA.

Leading this year's team from Canada are juniors Dawn Patulli (WIMGYM) and Jordan Harvie (CGC). Patulli placed third all-around at the recent 2004 Elite Canada and Harvie won the bars and beam titles at the same event. Joining the girls are Sydney Sawa (CGC), Brittnee Habbib, Kelsey Hope and Kristina Vaculik (Gemini), and Charlotte Mackie and Brittany Rogers (Omega). The latter two are veterans of the event, competing in last year's Level 10 competition.

A full roster is available online at www.intlgymnast.com.

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