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Archive: May 2005

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MAY 29 – BANVILLE DOMINATES APPARATUS FINALS

After handily winning the senior all-around title this week at the Canadian Championships, Melanie Banville of Ottawa claimed two more gold medals in the apparatus finals yesterday. Banville vaulted to the top of the rostrum on the two power events, vault, with a score of 9.275, and floor exercise, with an event high of 9.65. Her steady performances also guaranteed medals on the uneven bars, where she tied for the silver with Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs of Sport Seneca with a 9.475, and a share of the silver medal on balance beam with her Olympic teammate Gael Mackie of Omega with an 8.70. Aisha Gerber of Cambridge won her first gold medal competing as a senior on the uneven bars scoring 9.525, while Hopfner-Hibbs took the balance beam gold (9.00). Other event medalists were Mississauga's Alyssa Brown, who won the silver on vault with an 8.837, followed by Kylie Stone (8.825). Stone also tumbled her way to the silver on floor exercise with a 9.60, just ahead of Marci Bernholtz of ASF Gymnastics (9.55).

Men’s apparatus medals were also awarded, with Abbotsford’s Ken Ikeda and Calgary’s Brandon O’Neill taking two gold medals each. O’Neill won the floor exercise title with an impressive 9.5 score, and later tied with fellow Albertan Nathan Gafiuk for the gold medal on the vault, scoring 9.40. Ikeda took gold on the pommel horse (where his older brother Richard Ikeda finished an emotional fifth, ending his illustrious 20 year competitive career at nationals) and parallel bars events, scoring 9.65 and 9.15 respectively. Other event winners were Calgary’s Grant Golding, who won the still rings with a 9.65, and Montreal’s Alexander Jeltkov taking gold on his specialty, the high bar, with a 9.20 score. All-around champion Adam Wong of Calgary took home two bronze medals on the pommel horse and rings. Other event medallists were Edmonton’s Jared Walls (bronze on floor), David Kikuchi of Halifax (silver on pommel horse and rings), and Stephen Tetrault of Manitoba (bronze on vault).

Full results from all disciplines at this year's nationals are available in pdf format at the gymscore depot website.

MAY 28 – HOPE TAKES NEAR SWEEP OF JUNIOR EVENT FINALS

Recently crowned junior all-around champion Kelsey Hope of Gemini added three apparatus titles to her resume at the Canadian Gymnastics Championships in Vancouver yesterday. Hope finished first on the vault (8.95 average), uneven bars (9.225), and floor exercise events, (9.775 out of a 10.3 Canadian models start value). Calgary’s Sydney Sawa prevented a gold medal sweep for Hope with an outstanding 9.7 score to take the title on the balance beam event. Hope finished second with a 9.55, with Seneca’s Nicole Heikkila rounding out an impressive balance beam podium with a 9.45 score. Other apparatus medallists were Caya Colling of ASF (silver on uneven bars, 8.65 and floor exercise, 9.55, and bronze on vault, 8.812), Nansy Damianova of Gymnix (silver on vault, 8.85), and Dawn Patulli of WIMGYM (bronze on floor exercise, 9.25), while Sawa took home a bronze on the uneven bars (8.60).

Full results continue to be updated at the official 2005 Canadian Gymnastics Championships website.

MAY 27 – WONG TAKES FIRST CAREER SENIOR AA TITLE AT NATIONALS

Olympian Adam Wong of Calgary took home his first ever senior Canadian all-around title last night in Vancouver. Wong, who had established himself as one of Canada’s premier all-around gymnasts with his performance at the Olympics in Athens last year, maintained his preliminary lead to take the title with a combined score of 107.125. Finishing second was defending champion Grant Golding, also of Calgary, who was very close behind with a 106.85 combined score. Rounding out the all-around podium was David Kikuchi of Halifax, who scored 105.525. All three were members of the 2004 Olympic Team who finished 11th last year in Athens. Roudning out the top five were Casey Sandy and Alexander Jeltkov.

In the junior men’s competition, the title went to Luke Boyd of Ontario, who finished ahead of fellow Ontarian Matthew Albrecht and British Colubmia’s Peter Andersen. Rounding out the top five were Alex Rayment and Marco Delgado, both of Ontario.

MAY 26 – BANVILLE AND HOPE TAKE WOMEN’S TITLES AT NATIONALS

Olympian and preliminary leader Melanie Banville of Ottawa claimed her first Canadian all-around title at the national championships in Vancouver last night. Banville, who had previously won five individual apparatus titles at nationals, took the all-around gold with a total score of 36.675. This will likely be Banville’s final Canadian championships as she heads to the University of Alabama this fall where she will begin her NCAA career. Finishing second was another Olympian, and defending Canadian all-around champion Kylie Stone of Stampede City, who scored 36.15, just ahead of ASF’s Marci Bernholtz, who took the bronze with a 36.05. Bernholtz narrowly defeated the 2003 champion Gael Mackie of Omega, who scored 36.025 for fourth place. Moving up one rank from preliminaries was last year’s junior champion Aisha Gerber of Cambridge, who scored 35.725, just over a tenth ahead of Mississauga’s Alyssa Brown, who posted a 35.60. Seneca’s Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs had qualified in second place just behind Banville, but several errors in last night’s new life all-around final dropped her to seventh place, with a 34.975 score.

In the junior women’s competition, Gemini’s Kelsey Hope took the title after having qualified in first place out of preliminaries. Hope scored 36.90 to finish less than five tenths ahead of Dawn Patulli of WIMGYM, who put up a 36.475. Nansy Damianova of Gymnix took bronze with a 36.2. Caya Colling of ASF finished fourth, the same rank she had earned in preliminaries, with a 35.35 score.

In a new format this year, the top 12 gymnasts after the first day of competition advanced to a new life all-around final. Results are continuing to be updated at the official 2005 Canadian Championships website.

MAY 25 – THREE OLYMPIANS LEAD MEN’S FIELD AT NATIONALS

Calgary’s Adam Wong, Canada’s top all-around finishers at last year’s Olympic Games in Athens, took a strong lead after day one of competition at the Canadian Gymnastics Championships in Vancouver yesterday. Wong scored 54.05 – the only competitor to average over 9.0 – not an easy task with the new men’s rules this year, which require 1.6 in bonus in order to achieve a 10.0 start value. He broke 9.0 four times, on pommel horse, vault, parallel bars, and high bar. He leads fellow Calgarian and last year’s all-around champion Grant Golding by a point and a half. Golding scored 52.55, just 0.05 in front of Nova Scotia’s David Kikuchi. Golding’s top mark of 9.2 came on the floor exercise, while Kikuchi equaled that mark for his best effort of the day on pommel horse. Casey Sandy of Burlington took the highest mark of the day on any event – a 9.675 on the vault – to finish fourth after day one, with an all-around score of 52.275. Olympian Ken Ikeda took the highest score on pommel horse, a 9.35, en route to fifth place after day one with a score of 50.175. Ken’s brother Richard, competing in his 20th nationals – competed only on pommel horse, scoring a 7.80. Rounding out the top six two time Olympian and former national all-around champion Alexander Jeltkov of Montreal, who took his top score (9.175) on his specialty event, the high bar, en route to a 50.125 all-around score. Competing on four events only was floor and vault stand-out Brandon O’Neill of Edmonton, who scored 9.50 and 9.55 respectively of his best events.

The junior men also had their first day of competition, with Ontario taking the top two places with Luke Boyd leading over Matthew Albrecht 49.0 to 47.575. B.C.’s Peter Andersen stands third with a 44.8.

Competition continues tonight with the men’s and women’s all-around finals. Full results will be posted here throughout the competition.

MAY 24 - BANVILLE, HOPFNER-HIBBS IN NEAR DEAD-HEAT AFTER QUALIFYING

Olympian Melanie Banville and first-year FIG senior Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs finished senior women's qualifications in a near tie at the Canadian Gymnastics Championships today. Banville, who finished 24th all-around at the Olympic Games in Athens last year, scored 36.850 to lead the competition by just 0.025 over Hopfner-Hibbs. Remarkably, both athletes scored within 0.2 of each other on all four apparatus, with Hopfner-Hibbs edging Banville on vault, 9.075 to 9.050, and uneven bars, 9.675 to 9.500, while Banville had the upper hand on beam (8.800 to 8.775) and floor (9.500 to 9.300).

Finishing third in qualifying with 36.025 was Olympian Kylie Stone of Alberta. Stone's best event was floor, where she took a 9.575 to lead the field on that event.

Fourth place went to first-year FIG senior Rebecca Simbhudas, younger sister of world championship team member Jennifer Simbhudas (who competed three events for 17th) with 35.550 (9.300 on uneven bars). Competing against various Olympians and senior national team members, it was the young Simbhudas who ultimately took the highest score of the day on balance beam (8.950).

Olympic alternate Marci Bernholtz of ASF was in striking distance of the top three until a 7.400 on beam dropped her to fifth with 34.950. Bernholtz's 9.550 on floor was second only to Stone on that apparatus.

Finishing sixth in her senior national debut was Cambridge Kips' Aisha Gerber. Gerber, the defending Canadian junior champion, had one score over 9.000 (9.375 on bars, third) to finish just behind Bernholtz with 34.850. Born in 1990, Gerber is not age-eligible for international competition until 2006.

Rounding out a closely contested top ten were Gymnastics Mississauga's Alyssa Brown (34.675, including a meet-high 9.100 on vault, for seventh overall), Gemini Gymnastics' Brittnee Habbib (34.525, eighth), Olympian Gael Mackie (34.175, ninth), and Abbotsford Twisters' Laura-Ann Chong (32.725, tenth).

Competition for the women continues tomorrow with the all-around finals, while event finals will take place on Saturday. Full results of today's competition are available here.


MAY 24 - HOPE LEADS JUNIOR WOMEN'S FIELD AFTER QUALIFYING

Gemini Gymnastics' Kelsey Hope led the junior women's competition after qualifying, as the 2005 Canadian Championships for artistic gymnastics, trampoline, and tumbling got underway today in Vancouver. Hope scored 36.425, including a 9.600 on uneven bars, to lead the competition over Gymnix's Nancy Damianova (35.950). Damianova actually outscored Hope on bars (9.675) and floor (9.175 to Hope's 8.700), but gave up too much ground on beam (8.500 to Hope's event-high 9.475).

Just behind Damianova was WIMGYM's Dawn Patulli, who scored 35.600 for third. Patulli's best score of the day was a 9.150 on uneven bars.

Rounding out the top five after qualifying were ASF's Caya Colling and Elite Canada junior champion Cynthia Lemieux (Gym-Richelieu) with 34.975 and 33.600, respectively. Colling's 8.650 on vault equalled Hope for the top score of the day on that apparatus, while Lemieux's 9.250 on beam was the third-highest score of the day on that event.

Missing out on a top finish was Calgary's Jordan Harvie. Harvie was among the best of the day on three apparatus, but scored only 4.150 on floor to finish 17th out of 19 competitors. Harvie's competitive status is unclear at this point.

Competition continues tonight with the senior men's and women's and junior men's artistic competitions. The junior women will contest the all-around final tomorrow, and event finals on Friday. Full results of today's competition are available here.


MAY 23 – CANADA’S BEST GATHER FOR NATIONALS IN VANCOUVER

The country’s top artistic and trampoline and tumbling athletes have gathered at the University of British Columbia’s War Memorial Gymnasium for the 2005 Canadian Championships. The artistic gymnasts compete first, with the junior and senior men’s and women’s preliminaries taking place tomorrow. The trampoline and tumbling athletes compete beginning next Monday.

This year’s nationals will be a landmark performance for men’s veteran and former three time all-around champion Richard Ikeda of Abbotsford, who will be competing in his 20th career Canadian Championships. Ikeda is one of three former Canadian senior men’s all-around champions on this year’s roster, the others being defending men’s champion Grant Golding of Calgary, and Montreal’s Alexander Jeltkov, the 1997 champion. The field also includes Olympians Ken Ikeda (Richard’s brother), David Kikuchi of Halifax, Calgary’s Adam Wong, and Olympic alternate Nathan Gafuik, also of Calgary. Another Calgarian will be noticeably absent from the competitive floor this year, with Olympic floor exercise champion Kyle Shewfelt scheduled to be at the venue, but not competing. He does intend to be ready for this fall’s world championships in Australia. Still the men’s field will not be without an international stand-out on floor exercise, with Calgary’s Brandon O’Neill coming off a gold medal world cup performance earlier this month in Ghent, Belgium, slated to compete.

The women’s competition will feature three Olympians, including the last two national all-around champions Kylie Stone of Calgary and Vancouver’s Gael Mackie. Fellow Olympian Melanie Banville of Ottawa, who won five individual titles at the last two Canadian championships, will look to add her first all-around title to her resume. Other challengers for this year’s women’s title should include Olympic alternate Marci Berhnoltz of Toronto who has had good showings internationally this year at the American Cup and Stella Zakharova Cup, and Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs, also of Toronto, who earlier this year reached the finals at both the American Cup and the Brazil world cup meet. Another possible contenders include Aisha Gerber of Cambridge and Missisauga's Alyssa Brown, who finished first and third respectively in the junior competition last year. Gerber is making her Canadian senior debut, despite still being junior aged internationally.

Next week’s trampoline and tumbling competition will be headlined by two time Olympic medallist Karen Cockburn of Toronto looking to defend her Canadian title – as well as break her Canadian scoring record. She will be challenged by Olympian Heather Ross-McManus, veteran Brenna Casey, and up and comers Rosannagh McLennan and Sarah Charles - the world champion on double mini tramp who is now also looking to make her mark in the individual trampoline event. For the men, two time Olympian Mathieu Turgeon will be joined by up and comers Bryan Milonja of St. Bruno, Quebec, and Toronto’s Jason Burnett. National champions will also be crowned in tumbling, with the favourites being Denis Vachon for the men and Emily Smith for the women.

Full rosters and schedules for this year’s championships can be found at the official 2005 nationals website.


MAY 1 - O'NEILL GOLDEN IN GHENT

O'Neill is the reigning Pan Am
champion on floor
Edmonton's Brandon O'Neill furthered his reputation as one of the world's leading floor exercise specialists with a gold medal performance at the World Cup competition in Ghent, Belgium, today. O'Neill, who also won yesterday's qualifying round, secured the victory despite a one-tenth deduction for going out of bounds. His final score of 9.350 was good enough to beat Hungary's Robert Gal, and Romania's Marian Dragulescu. Both athletes scored 9.262, but Gal took the silver on a tie-breaker. Gal was the winner on floor exercise at the most recent World Cup in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

In women's competition, Olympian Gael Mackie placed fifth in the uneven bar finals with an 8.937 score (9.7 Start Value). The winner of the bar final was Great Britain's Beth Tweddle with a 9.600.

The victory was a first for O'Neill on the World Cup circuit. Previously, the 20 year-old had taken gold at the 2003 Pan American Games, 2004 Canadian championships, and 2005 Jurassic Classic. O'Neill's best finish at a World Cup prior to today was third in Lyon, France, last year.




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