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Archive: July 2007

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This weekend Shanghai, China played host to the final World Cup event preceding the upcoming World Championships. Canada was represented by Nansy Damianova, whose top placing came in the form of a fifth place finish on floor. Information is slow coming out of China, but we know she also competed vault (and possibly other events?) in the preliminary round. She vaulted a Yurchenko 1.5 twice, resulting in a 2 point deduction on the second vault. (More information will be added as it becomes available).

2007 Shanghai World Cup - Floor finals
1. Jiang YuYuan 15.225
2. Pang PanPan 15.050
2. Alina Kozich 15.050
4. Olga Sherbatyck 14.350
5. Nansy Damianova 14.225
6. Alena Pronina 14.075
7. Nicole Tay Xi Hui 14.000
8. Sarah Hg Hui Min 12.950

The event is great experience for Nansy, who is returning to competition after injury and hopes to return to China next year, as part of Canada's Olympic team. Nansy is expected to compete next at the 2007 World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany. Canada's women are the tenth and final subdivision of qualifications, competing first on September 2. The top 12 teams will earn team berths to the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China.

Meanwhile, several from Canada's men's National team are presently training/visiting the Chinese National Training center.


 The podium has become a familiar place for Canada's rhythmic gymnasts and trampolinists at the 2007 Pan Am Games.

Canadian Alexandra Orlando took gold in all three apparatus finals in which she qualified. (Orlando was all but assured of taking the all-around title, until her ribbon broke during the qualifications. She received a zero score for the apparatus, eliminating her from the all-around competition and ribbon apparatus final. The mishap is especially concerning as these Pan Am Championships typically determine the Americas Wild Card entrant for the Olympic Games).

Stephanie Carew finished sixth in the all-around and fourth in the rope, hoop, and ribbon and 7th in clubs.

In the rhythmic team event Canada placed a disappointing third behind Brazil and Cuba. Cuba had predicted a gold place finish for themselves, whereas Canada had been gunning for silver. Team Canada was comprised of Kathryn DeCata, Alissa Hansen, Monika Lechowicz, Suzanne Lendvay, Brihana Mosienko, and Roxanne Porter.

In trampoline, Karen Cockburn topped the standings for gold, teammate Rosie MacLennan earned silver, and the home crowd's Giovanni Matheus snapped up the bronze. Canada's Jason Burnett earned silver in the men's division, behind the USA's Chris Estrada. Canada's Bryan Milonja placed fourth.



The Canadian women’s team who had finished in fourth place in the team competition at the Pan American Games in Brazil, has now been awarded the bronze medal. The Mexican team had outscored the Canadian team for the bronze, but was disqualified following a discrepancy regarding accreditation. “…because Marisela Arizmendi Torres (MEX), enrolled as a delegation official, but participated as an athlete,” as reported on the official 2007 Pan American Games website.

As the women’s team is currently in transit, they will likely receive their medals from the Canadian Olympic Committee once back in Canada.


Canada was well represented in the apparatus finals today as the Pan American Games artistic gymnastics competition concluded. For the women, Canada was represented in all four event finals, with the top result being a fourth place finish on the floor exercise from Peng Peng Lee. Lee had also competed in the balance beam final, suffereing three falls en route to an eighth place showing. Lee demonstrated excellent composure in light of the audience, who loudly supported the Brazilian gymnasts, yet often cheered when non Brazilian gymnasts fell, as they did following Lee’s first fall of the balance beam. Charlotte Mackie was the busiest Canadian in today’s finals, competing in the vault (sixth), uneven bars (seventh) and balance beam (sixth) events.

In the men’s competition, AJ Rayment just missed out on a medal in the vault, averaging 15.675, just shy of the 15.737 total earned by the bronze medallist. Jared Walls had qualified for the men’s horizontal bar final, but did not compete.

Full results can be downloaded from the 2007 Pan American Games official website.


Peng Peng Lee of Sport Seneca had an outstanding performance today in the all-around finals at the Pan American Games. Lee finished in a tie for fifth Brazilian veteran Daniele Hypolito, scoring 57.30. The US swept the podium, led by junior national champion Shawn Johnson (61.725), Rebecca Bross (61.05), and Ivana Hong (59.375). Lee’s best score came on the balance beam, scoring an impressive 15.475.

The two other Canadian entrants had some struggles, with Charlotte Mackie finishing 16th with a 53.70, and Emma Willis finishing 24th with a 51.475.

Mackie and Lee will compete again tomorrow in the apparatus finals.

Full results can be downloaded from the 2007 Pan American Games official website.


Gymnastics Canada has named the seven women who will represent Canada at the world championships later this summer. Named to the team were Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs of Sport Seneca, world balance beam bronze medallist; Rebecca Simbhudas of Gemini, Alyssa Brown of Gymnastics Mississauga, and Marci Bernholtz of ASF, who all competed at the 2006 world championships; and Nansy Damianova of Gymnix, Sydney Sawa of Calgary, and Kristina Vaculik of Gemini, current Canadian all-around champion. 

Only six gymnasts will compete at the world championships, with one of the seven being the alternate. The alternate has not yet been named. 

The team will train in Greece prior to the championships which take place in Stuttgart, Germany. The women's team will compete in the last subdivision at the championships, on Sunday, September 2nd. A top 12 finish will qualify the women's team to the Olympic Games.


Hugh Smith finished 15th in the all-around finals at the Pan American Games today. Smith, who trains at ALTA gymnastics club with veteran national team member David Kikuchi, was 23rd in qualifications, moving up eight spots in today’s final. Smith finished sixth all-around at this year’s Canadian championships. Smith improved his all-around score by nearly two points, scoring 81.60 in the preliminaries and 83.50 in the finals.

Jose Luis Fuentes of Venezuela took the all-around gold, scoring 90.45, a full point ahead of silver medallist Jorge Giraldo of Columbia. Guillermo Alvarez of the United States took bronze, scoring 87.90.

Competition continues tomorrow with the women’s all-around final. Competing for Canada will be Peng Peng Lee, Charlotte Mackie and Emma Willis. Full results (which are updated after each rotation for competitions in progress) can be found at the 2007 Pan American Games official website.


The Canadian men’s team finished seventh in the team competition today at the Pan American Games in Brazil. Individually, Hugh Smith qualified for the all-around finals, AJ Rayment in the vault, and Jared Walls on the high bar.

The women’s team finished in fourth place, missing the bronze medal by 0.5. Individually, three Canadian women qualified for the all-around finals: Peng Peng Lee, Charlotte Mackie, and Emma Willis. Mackie also qualified for three apparatus finals (vault, uneven bars, and balance beam), with Lee qualifying for the balance beam and floor exercise.

Canada sent a very young team to these games in order to gain valuable international experience for our next generation of gymnasts.

Men’s Team Results
1. Puerto Rico 353.900
2. Brazil 353.600
3. USA 353.300
4. Venezuela 347.550
5. Colombia 338.900
6. Cuba 340.700
7. Canada 333.350

Women’s Team Results
1. USA - 243.225
2. Brazil - 236.725
3. Mexico - 223.625
4. Canada - 223.125

Full results can be downloaded from the 2007 Pan American Games official website.


Family, friends, and fans may email their well wishes to the Canadian women's Pan American Games team. Email your well wishes to


Canadian champion Kristina Vaculik was the top scorer today at the selection activity at Gymnastics Mississauga, followed by Marci Bernholtz and Alyssa Brown. Vaculik performed well, showing mostly the same routines she has been using so far this season, adding a difficult full twisting back salto on beam (a fall, her only major break of the day). Bernholtz, recovering from a bad rip from a bars fall in Brazil, looked strong on beam and bars, competing full difficulty on those events. Brown, who was out of competition for several months following an Achilles tendon injury, was the top performer on vault (Yurchenko 1 ˝), an event where she will make a strong contribution to the Canadian team. She was also solid on the other events. 

Rounding out the all-around rankings were Rebecca Simbhudas (very solid effort on the balance beam in particular), Sydney Sawa (who was at her best today on vault and floor), Cynthia Lemieux (her best events were uneven bars and balance beam – she is Canadian champion on the latter); and Caya Colling (had several breaks but showed new skills on many events). 

Competing three events only was Nansy Damianova, who is on the mend after a dislocated elbow suffered in March. Damianova looked in great shape and was particularly solid on balance beam. She did not compete on the uneven bars. Damianova is scheduled to compete at the world cup in China later this month. World medallist Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs, competed on uneven bars only. She showed the same routine as last year with the addition of a Markelov release skill. She also did an exhibition routine on the balance beam, showing many of the skills that won her the bronze medal at the world championships last year.

Only 9 gymnasts competed today. Three gymnasts who were invited to the camp were unable to compete due to injury, including Stephanie Pacitto, second at the Canadian championships this year, who injured her knee last month in Brazil. Aisha Gerber was also supposed to compete, but rolled her ankle recently in training to take her out of contention. Gael Mackie, an Olympic team member, is also out of contention due to injury.

The team will be named later tonight. As part of the team’s preparation, they will head to Greece for a training camp and dual meet with the Greek team.

Scores from today’s competition were not released and video taping was not permitted at the request of Gymnastics Canada.


This weekend the Canadian women’s team finalized their preparation for the Pan American Games at a training camp at Sport Seneca in Toronto. The team demonstrated their routines at a model training today, performing the skills and routines they plan to use at the Pan American Games next week. Canada is sending a young and talented team to the games. Despite their youth, the team brings a wealth of international experience with them, with all six team members, plus the team reserve, having represented Canada internationally at important competitions including the junior Pacific Alliance Championships, Junior Pan Am Games, Romanian international, Puerto Rico Cup, Stella Zakharova Cup, and Massilia Cup.

The team is composed of the top three all-around gymnasts from the junior competition at the recent Canadian championships: Brittany Rogers of Omega, Peng Peng Lee of Sport Seneca, and Charlotte Mackie of Omega. Rogers and Mackie have already represented Canada at the Junior Pan American Championships last year, as well as the Pacific Alliance Championships. Lee, who was the 2006 Elite Canada junior all-around champion, has represented Canada in Belgium at the prestigious Top-Gym tournament in 2005. Also on the team are Stephanie Desjardins-Labelle of Gym-Elites, sixth all-around in the junior division at the Canadian championships and also a silver all-around medalist at the recent Puerto Rico Cup; Ti Liu of Gymnix, ninth at the Canadian championships (junior), winning the beam title and also finishing third all-around at the Puerto Rico Cup; and Emma Willis of Bluewater, senior national champion on the floor exercise and a floor exercise medalist at this year’s Gymnix International. Team reserve Laurie-Eve Gagné of Gym-Richelieu, also has a good international resume, competing for Canada at the Stella Zakharova Cup in Ukraine earlier this year as well as the Puerto Rico Cup.

The team is well balanced, with strength and depth on all four events. They will begin their competition at the Pan Am Games on the balance beam. Some of the highlights from the team on this apparatus include a standing arabian from Willis; an original one armed Onodi and backhandspring layout-layout line from Mackie; a switch ring leap, double turn, and consecutive front aerials from Liu; and a triple-flair mount, and a beautiful two footed layout from Lee. Team reserve Gagné also shows a variety of skills here, including a double pike dismount, an E level skill (Mackie and Willis also perform this difficult dismount).

Floor exercise should be one of Canada’s strongest events at the games. Desjardins-Labelle’s elegantly choreographed floor routine includes a strong full-in opening. Full-ins are also performed by Mackie, Willis, Rogers (piked), and Lee; Lee and Willis also perform arabian double fronts as second lines.

On vault, the team lineup will consist of several well executed Yurchenko-fulls from Mackie, Willis, Desjardins-Labelle, Lee (as well as reserve Gagné), and a Yurchenko 1 ˝ from Rogers. Rogers and Mackie will also attempt to qualify for vault finals with their second vaults: a round-off ˝ on piked front from Rogers; and a round-off ˝ on tucked front ˝ from Mackie.

The final event for team Canada at the games will be the uneven bars, and there are plenty of world-class skills for the team to display. Rogers performs two different same bar releases (Markelov and Gienger); Liu’s routine shows beautiful lines and a combination of stalder-blind turn, endo, Jaeger; Mackie has added a stalder-full on the low bar to her routine; and Willis performs two unique skills – an inside stalder and an elgrip giant (she is the first Canadian to perform these two moves in competition). Team reserve Gagné, the junior national champion on this apparatus, also demonstrated a world class routine on this event with a toe-on Shaposhnikova, piked Jaeger release, and tucked full-out dismount.

Team Canada will compete next Saturday in the team competition at the Pan American Games, while other Canadian gymnasts will be battling for team berths at the World Championships at a selection camp in Mississauga. Two prominent Canadian gymnasts will be making returns to competition following injury at that competition. 2006 Canadian all-around champion and world balance beam bronze medalist Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs of Sport Seneca, sidelined much of this year with a foot injury, will compete uneven bars only at the trials, with a new routine including a new Markelov release. She has also begun training on the other events, standing up double arabians on floor onto a soft landing surface, and performing most of her difficult beam skills. Also making a return to competition following a dislocated elbow in March will be Nansy Damianova of Gymnix. Damianova is doing very well in the gym currently and will compete three apparatus (no uneven bars) at the trials, and she is also scheduled to compete at the Shanghai world cup meet in China late July.

Selected videos from today’s model training can now be downloaded from our Mpeg page.


Twelve of Canada’s top women’s artistic gymnasts will compete for spots on the 2007 World Championship team later this month at Gymnastics Mississauga. The gymnasts will participate in a training camp, culminating with a team selection activity on Saturday, July 14th, after which the team of six gymnasts plus one alternate will be named. The competition will take place at 3:00 pm, with warm-ups beginning at 2:00. Spectators are welcome, with tickets available at the door: $10 for adult and $5 for children 14 and under.

The twelve gymnasts in contention for the team are:
Marci Bernholtz, ASF, Richmond Hill, ON
Alyssa Brown, Gymnastics Mississauga, ON
Caya Colling, ASF, Richmond Hill, ON
Nansy Damianova, Gymnix, Montreal, QC
Aisha Gerber, Oakville Gymnastics Club, ON
Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs, Sport Seneca, Toronto, ON
Cynthia Lemieux, Gym-Richelieu, St. Hubert, QC
Gael Mackie, Omega Gymnastics, Coquitlam, BC
Stephanie Pacitto, Gymnastics Mississauga, ON
Sydney Sawa, Calgary Gymnastics Club, AB
Rebecca Simbhudas, Gemini Gymnastics, Oshawa, ON
Kristina Vaculik, Gemini Gymnastics, Oshawa, ON

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