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Archive: October 2006

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Edmonton’s Brandon O’Neill added to his world cup hardware in Stuttgart, Germany today by taking silver in the floor exercise final at the DTB Cup. World all-around bronze medallist from Germany Fabian Hambüchen took gold, with Wajdi Bouallegue of Tunisia taking bronze.

1. Fabian Hambüchen GER 15.600
2. Brandon O'Neill CAN 15.450
3. Wajdi Bouallegue TUN 15.250
4. David Vyoral CZE 15.225
5. Yevgeny Bogonosyuk UKR 14.925
6. Filip Ude CRO 14.850
7. Eiichi Sekiguchi JPN 14.225
8. Feng Zhe CHN 13.900

Update (October 29, 2006): O'Neill looked as though he might finish in the medals on vault, scoring a 16.275 on his first vault. Unfortunately, he botched his second vault, finishing 7th. Better luck next time!

Full results can be found at the DTB Cup website.


Edmonton’s Brandon O’Neill, a former world medallist on the event, leads the floor exercise qualifiers at the DTB Cup. He scored a 15.50 on the event to qualify for tomorrow’s final. His 15.95 vault average qualified him for the vault event final in fifth place. He also competed in the parallel bars, scoring 15.25 to finish 15th. Also competing in today’s qualifying was world team member Marci Bernholtz of Unionville. Bernholtz finished 12th in the uneven bars (14.05) and balance beam (13.85) events. O’Neill will compete in the floor final tomorrow and the vault final on Sunday.

Full men’s results.

Full women’s results.


Hopfner-Hibbs takes bronze on beam! 
Photo by Heather Maynez

Toronto's Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs made history today at the world championships by winning the first ever medal for a Canadian woman, taking third in the balance beam final. Hopfner-Hibbs' 15.475 was only a tenth of a point behind the gold medal winner Irina Krasnyanska of Ukraine who scored 15.575. Second place went to Romania's Sandra Isbaza with a 15.50.

Balance Beam Results
1. Irina Krasnyanskaya (UKR) 15.575
2. Sandra Izbasa (ROM) 15.50
3. Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs (CAN) 15.475
4. Anna Pavlova (RUS) 15.275
5. Zhang Nan (CHN) 15.275
6. Vanessa Ferrari (ITA) 14.675
7. Steliana Nistor (ROM) 14.575
8. Olga Scherbatykh (UKR) 14.325

Read more on our worlds page.


Shewfelt takes bronze!
Photo by Ruth Judson

Olympic champion Kyle Shewfelt of Calgary took home his third career world championship bronze medal today in Aarhus, finishing third in the the floor exercise final. Read more on our worlds page.

1 931 DRAGULESCU Marian ROM 16.250
2 572 HYPOLITO Diego BRA 16.150
3 595 SHEWFELT Kyle CAN 15.700
4 682 DEFERR Gervasio ESP 15.675
5 582 JOVTCHEV Jordan BUL 15.600
6 616 ZOU Kai CHN 15.550
7 773 SHATILOV Alexander ISR 15.525
8 680 BOTELLA PEREZ Isaac ESP 14.600


Wong - highest all-around placement! 
Photo by Heather Maynez

Adam Wong today in Aarhus, Denmark earned Canada's best ever all-around finish at the world championships, finishing in ninth place! Teammate Nathan Gafuik finished 17th. In the women's competition, Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs was a last minute replacement for an injured Lais Souza of Brazil. Hopfner-Hibbs took advantage of the opportunity and finished in 16th place. Check back for more news later. Full results can be found at our worlds page.


Historic berth to team final for Canada's men! 
Photo by Heather Maynez

Check our worlds page for a report!

Gold: China - 277.775
Silver: Russia - 275.40
Bronze: Japan - 274.80
4. Romania - 272.225
5. Belarus - 272.05
6. Canada - 270.35
7. Germany - 270.025
8. Switzerland - 268.025



Hopfner-Hibbs to compete in Beam final! 
Photo by Ruth Judson

Toronto's Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs has qualified for the balance beam event final at the World Championships. Hopfner-Hibbs scored 15.375 to tie for seventh place with Vanessa Ferrari of Italy to qualify. Hopfner-Hibbs will compete in the balance beam final on the final day of competition at the world championships on Saturday, where she will have a chance to earn Canada's first ever women's medal at the world championships. The women's team finished 14th.


The Canadian women's team is ranked tenth after seven of ten preliminary subdivisions. See our 2006 Worlds page for more information.

Team Canada presents to BB judges 
Photo by Ruth Judson


The Canadian men's team ranked fifth place at the world championships and will advance to Tuesday's team finals. See our 2006 Worlds page for more information.

Men's official qualifiers for team finals:

1. China
2. Japan
3. Russia
4. Romania
5. Canada
6. Germany
7. Switzerland
8. Belarus

Team Canada presents to PH judges 
Photo by Ruth Judson


The upcoming 39th World Championships are the first to be held in a Scandinavian country. Aarhus, Denmark plays host to the event, whose competitions occur October 14-22. The event is very much a first step towards Beijing; The top 24 teams after preliminaries qualify to field full teams to next year's World Championships, in Stuttgart, Germany. In turn, the top 12 teams after preliminaries in Stuttgart qualify to field full teams to the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China. (Countries who do not qualify to field full teams may be eligible to field individual(s) to next year's World Championships and/or the Olympic Games).

Canada's teams depart the first week of October, and will train in Aarhus prior to the event. On both the men's and women's sides, team Canada's goals for Aarhus are to qualify to team finals. Berths to several finals are also within reach, even some medal possibilities!

Gymn.ca will be present in Aarhus, so look for delayed reports and photos of the Canadian effort! Visitors should stay tuned to Gymn.ca's 2006 Worlds page, for news, reports, photos, and more!


Pelletier with Amelie Plante
at the 2004 Olympic Trials. Photo by Leslie Foster

The 2006 World Championships are fewer than two weeks away, and preparations are at full steam. Whereas some countries have yet to announce their definitive teams, Canada announced their Women’s Artistic Gymnastics team hours after trials. The team consists of Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs, Crystal Gilmore, Alyssa Brown, Brittnee Habbib, Gael Mackie, and Marci Bernholtz. Between them, the girls have enjoyed success at such competitions as the 2000 and 2004 Olympics, 1998 and 2006 Commonwealth Games, 2006 Pacific Alliance Championships, and various World Cup competitions. National team coach Claude Pelletier recently spoke with Gymn.ca, sharing the decisions that went into selecting this year’s team and his hopes for their performance in Aarhus, Denmark.

Gymn.ca: How did you select the team? Did you take into account past competitions as well as trials? If so, did you use a formula?
C. Pelletier: Selection was based on the performances at trials, and past experience in competition. From trials, the top two AA were selected [named to the team], and after that a working group made decisions about the best athletes to complete a team. Our objective is the team, so we had to place more emphasis on the contribution of each athlete to the team, rather than selecting six athletes who are all-arounders. By balancing everyone's contribution we will improve our ranking!

Gymn.ca: The field of contenders for these Worlds was quite small. Can you comment? 
C. Pelletier: Yes, this year the number of athletes is not there, but we have an interesting group of athletes; Athletes with good routine content, athletes with experience, and strong cohesion amongst the coaches. I think those are many good things!

Gymn.ca: Many people are shocked by Aisha Gerber’s absence from the team. Can you share with us, some of her recent struggles? 
C. Pelletier: We need to be patient with some athletes. She worked so hard, but with her recent growth spurt she had problems adjusting some skills. There wasn't enough time for her recover everything in time [for trials and for Worlds]. I think Aisha is an amazing athlete, and when the time comes for her to step in she will do it! I trust Aisha and [coach] Elvira to do this challenge. We'll see Aisha in 2007 if she's capable of competing at her potential. 

Gymn.ca: Cynthia Lemieux qualified to World Trials but did not compete. Can you comment?
C. Pelletier:
She was not ready to compete on each event, and her potential contribution would have been only on beam. It's better for her to work on her program and be ready for Elite Canada.

Gymn.ca: Are the girls training together now? Where in Europe will the team train before Worlds?
C. Pelletier: The training camp will be in Laval, Quebec. The Laval Excellence gym club is able to provide us with Gymnova on which to train [the same equipment being used at the World Championships]. Specifically, Gymnova-Quebec will provide us with the same boards (very important to adjust for mounts on beam and takeoff on vault), 2 good beams with mats, 1 vault on hard landing and one into the pit. To do training camp and/or team competition in Europe would have been good preparation, but this year I think it's best for this team's preparation to do a short training camp [on the proper equipment]. After this, athletes from Ontario will go back home for one day and then we'll meet up in Aarhus.

Gymn.ca: What goals have you set for the gymnasts, in terms of team placement and individual results?
C. Pelletier: The target is 8th as a team - to do team final. Some people will say it’s unrealistic, but I still believe this team could do that. 

Elyse is our leader. Last year, she was the number one in the country. She is someone who the team will count on. She’s the strongest contender [we have] for the AA, but it's the beam final that is the target for her! She can do it...and very well! Carol-Angela Orchard and the coaches at Seneca are doing an amazing job with their athletes. 

Alyssa has a very good work ethic. We can count on her when it’s important. Her consistency will help the team build on scores and give confidence to the other athletes. Her coach, Alex Bard, will support the team as usual. His past experience will help the team to find the good solutions. 

Gael knows the game. She has solved many aspects of her gymnastics in the last year. Her success at the selection camp was not improvisation [luck], rather she arrived better prepared than ever. I trust her best results are yest to come.... 

Marci is coming back from a tough year, but she is a survivor! Paula Johnson, her coach, decided to take Marci to California last summer to give her a new environment in which to train and recover. It worked - her program has improved. I see her contributing on bars and beam. If she's healthy and ready, also on vault and floor. 

It's going to be a great experience for Brittnee, and I see her helping the team on floor and beam. To have [her coach] Elena Davidova on the team will be a great support! 

Crystal brings maturity to the team. We can count on her on each event; she’s consistent and upgrades the quality of her routines everyday. It’s a welcome comeback!

Gymn.ca: Looking ahead to Stuttgart 2007, what gymnasts do you anticipate contributing to the team? 
C. Pelletier: I hope the current team will be healthy. They will have experience and already know the expectation to qualify a team for the Olympics (top 12). If Aisha is healthy it'll help the team. After that we have Damianova, Vaculik, Willis, Sawa, and many more. We have many who could change the look of Canadian gymnastics next year. If they are healthy and work hard, the 2007 Worlds team will make team finals...again!


Gymn.ca has learned that CBC will provide coverage of the upcoming 2006 World Championships from Aarhus, Denmark. CBC colour commentator Lori Strong will be in Aarhus to report on the Canadian efforts. Many thanks to all who emailed CBC, encouraging them to cover this year's World Championships.


Calgary Gymnastics Center tonight played host to Canada's seven member men's team for the upcoming 2006 World Championships. The men competed in the last of multiple trials, showing a high level of preparation and enthusiasm for the upcoming competition in Denmark. Coaches and officials faced a tough decision at the meet's conclusion - naming the alternate. Grant Golding (U of Calgary), who returned to competition approximately two months ago following a training stint with Cirque du Soleil, has been named the reserve. Golding will travel with the six competing members, and may be called upon to compete in case of injury or difficulty adapting to the podium in Aarhus. 

Headlining the team is 2004 Olympian Kyle Shewfelt, who returned to training earlier this year with titles at the 2006 Commonwealth Games and 2006 Pacific Alliance Championships. Joining him are three fellow members from the 2004 Olympic team; Ken Ikeda (Abbostford Twisters), 2006 Canadian National Champion David Kikuchi (Alta), and 2005 Canadian National Champion Adam Wong (Calgary Gymnastics Center). Wong gained nation wide attention in March, winning the floor title at the 2006 Commonwealth Games. 

Also named to the team are Brandon O'Neill (Capital City) and Nathan Gafuik (U of Calgary). O'Neill has won multiple medals on the World Cup scene, and placed second on floor exercise at last year's Worlds in Melbourne. Gafuik, a strong all-arounder, earned silver in the men's all-around at the 2006 Commonwealth Games.

The team, Canada's best ever assembled, is focused on qualifying to the team finals. Individually, several men hold realistic chances at medals. 

Several of the men will have family members supporting them from the stands. In David Kikuchi's case, that includes new wife Crystal Gilmore. Gilmore, who announced  comeback following several years in retirement, was recently named to Canada's women's team for these same World Championships. Theirs is believed to be the first case of married husband and wife competing at the same World Championships. 

Gymn.ca will be present in Aarhus, so look for delayed reports and photos of the Canadian effort!

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