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Archive: March 2005

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Shewfelt at the 2002 Worlds
Photo by Grace Chiu

Kyle Shewfelt has been named Canada's Male Athlete of the Year! Shewfelt earned Canada's first medal at last year's Olympic Games - gold on men's floor exercise.

"Everything that's happened since Athens has been so special," said Shewfelt in his acceptance. "I'm taking each award that seems to be coming with that philosophy."

The Canadian Sport Awards are presented annually by the True Sport Foundation, a charitable organization that works to ensure sport makes a positive contribution to Canadian society. TSN airs coverage of the awards Thursday at 7pm EST/4pm PST.


Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs won the 2005 Gymnix International last night, posting 36.350. Bars proved her best event of the evening, scoring 9.400. Finishing second was the Ukraine's Olga Scherbatykh (35.575). A powerfull all-around gymnast, she posted her best score of 9.4 on uneven bars, but struggled on beam (7.85). A relative newcomer to the International scene, Lindsay Lindor of France rounded out the podium (34.300).

In the junior category, four of the top 5 spots were filled by Canadians. Aisha Gerber won the event despite limited training in recent months. Finishing second to Gerber's 34.875 was home club's Nansy Damianova (34.225). Russia's Ekaterina Kramarenko punctuated a Canadian domination, finishing third with 34.175. Rounding out the top five were Cynthia Lemieux (33.625) and Peng Peng Lee (33.450). Lemieux won the junior portion at last year's 2004 Elite Canada, while Lee placed in the top 5 in the novice portion at the same event.

Hopfner-Hibbs and Gerber spoke with Gymnastics Canada following the event. I did very well, Hopfner-Hibbs told GCG. All my routines were good but uneven bars and floor stood out for me. I have some bigger competitions coming up in a few weeks and this was excellent preparation for that. I have my routines pretty much set so now its a question of fixing the little things. Gerber was likewise pleased, I can definitely make some improvements but this was a very pleasing performance considering Ive just gotten back into training, she told GCG. My beam routine had been giving me trouble lately but I stuck everything tonight.

Complete all-around results are available at Gymbrooke

Competition at Gymnix concludes today with the event finals. 


Grant Golding set the example at this year's Jurassic Classic, winning the all-around by over two points. Golding, who trains out of the host club University of Calgary, also won last year's Jurassic Classic and placed second at the event in 2003.

Finishing second in the men's all-around was Capitol City's Jared Wells (51.500). Wells, a member of Canada's 2003 Pan Am Games team, posted his best score of the evening on vault (9.00). Casey Sandy (Burlington BGs) struggled, posting 51.375 for the bronze. Last month Sandy competed as a guest at the USA's 2005 Winter Cup, posting 52.299 for fifth.

Nathan Gafuik, alternate to the 2004 Olympic team, finished fourth in the men's all-around, but wowed the crowd with an attempted triple back dismount on rings. The remaining competitors did not compete six full events: Adam Wong, Cam Taylor, Patrick McElroy, Brandon O'Neill, and David Eaton.

In the event finals, Golding took three titles (rings, pommels, and pbars), O'Neill two (vault, floor) and Sandy one (high bar).

Complete results are available at the Jurassic Classic website.


Alyssa Brown competed in the vault final at the Cottbus Cup today, finishing seventh in her first World Cup event. Brown, who finished fourth all-around at last December's Elite Canada, earned an 8.975 average over her two vaults, bettering her preliminary total by almost two tenths of a point.

Brown scored a 9.156 for her first vault, a Yurchenko with 1 twist. Her second vault was a handspring piked front. In 2004, Brown finished fourth on vault at France's Massilia Cup in November, and also won bronze on the same event at the Junior Pan American Championships last October.


Gymnastics Mississauga's Alyssa Brown qualified to the vault final at the Cottbus Cup today. Brown, who is in her first year of senior international competition, placed eighth to qualify for the vault final at the World Cup event, which is in its 29th year of being contested. Brown's score of 8.799 over two vaults was good enough to earn the last berth in the event final, which will take place tomorrow.

Brown competed on all four apparatus today, but failed to qualify for any other finals. She finished 14th on the uneven bars, 11th on the beam, and 13th on floor exercise.


Canada's two biggest gymnastics competitions of the year are just days away. 

The 2005 L'International Gymnix kicks off Friday March 18, with some 500 athletes expected to descend on Montreal's Centre Sportif Claude Robbillard to compete over the course of the weekend. The International Elite portions are expected to draw the largest crowds, with the all-around being contested Saturday starting at 4pm and event finals Sunday starting at 3pm.

Despite a one-year hiatus (there was no L'International Gymnix held last year), club Gymnix has managed to attract an impressive crowd of competitors. Headlining the International portion are athletes from the Ukraine, Russia, Mexico, Belgium, Austria, and host Canada. The field boasts two Olympians, the Ukraine's Olga Scherbatykh and Canada's Melanie Banville.

Meanwhile, at the University of Calgary, the 2005 Jurassic Classic Invitational will feature some of the nation's best male gymnasts. Headlining the 11th annual event are 2004 Olympians Grant Golding and Adam Wong, Olympic alternate Nathan Gafuik, and 2004 World Cup finalist Brandon O'Neill. The lone international entrant is expected to be David Eaton of Wales, making the event the leanest in recent memory. Eaton aside, the competition promises to be a battle between some of Alberta's finest gymnastics clubs.

Competition gets underway at the U of C Thursday, with women's Provincial 3. The F.I.G. Men's competition begins Friday at 7:30pm, with event finals contested Saturday starting at 6:30pm. The competition concludes Sunday, with women's Provincial 2.

Olympic gold medallist Kyle Shewfelt will be in attendance in Calgary this weekend, signing autographs. Shewfelt was recently in the news again, when the F.I.G. handed out one-year suspensions to four judges for serious breeches judging the vault apparatus finals. (Shewfelt dropped to fourth (and therefore out of the medals) when Romania's Marion Dragulescu was awarded a mathematically impossible score for a vault with a fall).

Tickets for both events are available at the door, or can be preordered by contacting the respective host gym clubs. For more information, please visit the U of C's Jurassic Classic website or the L'International Gymnix website.


Plans are underway for the seventh annual Friendship Classic, to be held April 2 in Pennsylvania, USA. Canadians are once again participating.

Brittnee Habbib of Gemini will make a return trip to the Friendship Classic having placed fifth all around in 2004. Also competing will be junior standouts Kelsey Hope and Kristina Vaculik-both also from Gemini. They will be accompanied by coaches Elena Davydova and Valery Yahchybekov.

The competition, hosted by the Pottsville Gymnastic Training Center under the direction of Sandy Kost-Sterner and Barbara Kost-Lonergan, is expected to have its strongest field ever.

Olympic All Around Bronze Medallist Zhang Nan of China is a highlight of the competition while additional outstanding gymnasts from Ukraine, Russia and the Netherlands are among those to take part. Final roster will be posted prior to the competition.

Twenty-one different countries have participated in the Friendship Classic in its six-year history. Fourteen past Friendship Classic participants represented their respective country at the past Olympic Games held in Athens. The format of the World-Class competition is all around with both a junior and senior division. Gold, silver and bronze medals are also presented on each individual event. While the highlight of the weekend is the World-Class competition, age group gymnasts will test their own skills among others in their own level. The competition will include Level 4-10 gymnasts and will be held throughout the weekend. For further information on the Friendship Classic, email or visit the Friendship Classic website.

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