Nansy Damianova, Olympic hopeful

Nansy DamianovaAn interview posted on International Gymnast Magazine’s website has longtime Canadian coach Carol-Angela Orchard giving her thoughts on the Canadian selection process.

It’s probably just as competitive than the American one, because only two athletes will be selected to compete.

Many think it’s a given those two will be Kristina Vaculik and Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs. Vaculik, the 2007 Canadian Champion, has been the face of Canada at several recent international meets, including the Good Luck Beijing International Invitational. Hopfner-Hibbs is the first Canadian woman to medal at a World Championships (bronze, beam, 2006) in years and years.

So it comes as somewhat of a surprise to hear Orchard disclose that based on the points system Canada is using to select its athletes, the front runner is actually Montreal’s Nansy Damianova. Damianova has 32 points, Hopfner-Hibbs has 30 and Vaculik has 19.

Here’s how it works, according to Orchard:

We don’t have any girls that could do that All-Around, so we have been told to focus on our best two events. We have been told to have Elyse specialize on bars and beam, which, of course, we agree with. Athletes also receive points for their previous World Championships experience.

A minimum standard has been set by Gymnastics Canada for each event: 13.600 on vault (average of two vaults); 15.300 on bars; 15.100 on beam; and 14.300 on floor.

The gymnasts are given Olympic Qualifying points when they hit the minimum standards in meets they are sent to around the world, plus Elite Canada and Nationals. The higher their score, the higher number of points they receive.

Orchard is quick to hone in on the problem with this sort of selection:

The problem is this — some competitions have been judged more severely than others. Performances and rankings may have been good; however, the scores aren’t high enough to attain qualification points. On Day 1 at the Qatar World Cup, Elyse placed second on beam with 15.000. This does not earn her any points because it must be a minimum of 15.100. The opposite has also happened with some competitions being scored high, thereby allowing weaker performances to hit the required score.

The other thing is that other potential Olympians aren’t being seen at international competitions where they could earn points — Aisha Gerber comes to mind.

Hopfner-Hibbs has potential to make event finals on beam. Vaculik is quite good on bars. Damianova’s ahead in points. So who’s going to be the odd girl out?

Nansy Damianova, 2008 Pacific Rim Championships, Floor Exercise:

Kristina Vaculik, 2008 Pacific Rim Championships, Uneven Bars:

Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs, 2007 Glasgow Grand Prix, Balance Beam:

3 Responses to “Nansy Damianova, Olympic hopeful”

  1. Canadian women name Olympians « The Gymblog Says:

    […] in international exposure, media coverage and probably readiness — everything but the complicated, confusing system Gymnastics Canada Gymnastique installed to choose its Olympians. A month ago, Damianova led the […]

  2. Mia Says:

    Hi I have a project at school to do and i d’ont find ANYTHING on Nansy Damianova i have to do it on her childhood,what school she went to what did she do in gymnastics you know stuff around that do you think you can help??

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