12 days of up and coming gymnasts, day 10

Canadas high bar hope Nathan Gafuik could be a contender in 2009.

Canada's high bar hope Nathan Gafuik could be a contender in 2009.

Nathan Gafuik, Canada: The Canadian men were one of the unexpected surprises at the 2007 World Championships, placing 11th in team prelims to qualify a full team to Beijing. (The Canadian women weren’t as lucky. A disastrous team prelims left them 13th, and as a reuslt only two women — Nansy Damianova and Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs, traveled to Beijing).

The Canadian men were fantastic in Beijing, but few really noticed it because they didn’t win any medals. Nevertheless, the level of difficulty and execution at the Olympics represented a huge step forward for what has been an emerging program.

Nathan Gafuik

Nathan Gafuik

At 23, Gafuik, who is coached by the University of Calgary’s Tony Smith, has emerged as one of the team’s cornerstones. He’s still relatively young, but his experience runs pretty deep — at 19, he was an alternate to the Athens Games.

In 2006, he posted a huge 16.45 on vault at the American Cup and turned in a very respectable high bar routine (15.5 for second place). The same year he helped Canada to a sixth place finish at the World Championships in Aarhus, Denmark.

Gafuik’s one of those guys who doesn’t get along with the pommel horse, which sort of takes him out of all around competitions. However, he’s a big contender on high bar and vault. With him, Canada is still a program on the rise.

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3 Responses to “12 days of up and coming gymnasts, day 10”

  1. Jenn Says:

    His coach is Tony Smith!

  2. Blythe Says:

    Apologies. I have U.S. politics on the brain.

  3. Gymnastics Coaching » Blog Archive » gymnasts to watch in 2009 Says:

    […] Romania Samantha Shapiro and Jordyn Wieber, USA Alexy Bilozerchev, USA Tatiana Nabieva, Russia Nathan Gafuik, Canada Cui Jie, China Benoit Caranobe, […]

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