Posts Tagged ‘Adam Wong’

Canadian women name Olympians

June 10, 2008

Nansy DamianovaIn the midst of the media frenzy that was the U.S. women’s championships, the Canadians quietly held their own Nationals and named Nansy Damianova and Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs as the two who would wear the Maple Leaf in Beijing.

Left out is 2007 Canadian champion Kristina Vaculik, a waif-like 16-year-old who is excellent on bars and beam but a bit weak on vault and floor.

Hopfner-Hibbs, who had been concentrating on her specialties (bars and beam) made an impressive return to the all-around to win the Canadian title over Vaculik and young Charlotte Mackie. Young Peng-Peng Lee was also impressive, winning the senior beam and floor titles.

Adam Wong won the Canadian men’s title, although his victory was somewhat overshadowed by the continuing saga of Kyle Shewfelt, who made a media splash even though he didn’t compete.

Most were betting that the two to go would be Hopfner-Hibbs, the only Canadian woman in about two decades to have won a World medal (bronze, balance beam, 2006), and Vaculik, who was sent to the Olympic venue for the Good Luck Beijing International Invitational in December.

Damianova has been viewed as no. 3 to Vaculik and Hopfner-Hibbs 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 qualifying, having racked up 32 points to Hopfer-Hibbs’ 30 and Vaculik’s 19.

Vaculik has become the first of what will undoubtedly be several women who are Olympic-caliber but will not be granted an berth to the Games because their countries didn’t qualify a full team or because the wildcard process screwed them over didn’t work out for them.

We already know who many of these people are on the men’s side: Krisztian Berki, Vlasios Maras, Yuri van Gelder, Jeffrey Wammes, Philippe Rizzo, Yernar Yurimbetov and others (for full list, see Gymnastics Coaching.)

Damianova was impressive at the 2008 Pacific Rim Championships in April.

Nansy Damianova, 2008 Pacific Rim Championships, Floor Exercise:

Gafuik returns to claim Elite Canada title

December 17, 2007

Canada's Nathan Gafuik

From International Gymnast Magazine:

After a year-long absence, Nathan Gafuik made a strong return to national competition by winning the senior men’s all-around at Elite Canada, held Saturday night in Abbotsford, B.C.

Although he competed at the 2007 World Championships and the recent Olympic test event in Beijing, Gafuik spent most of the past year recovering from injury. He missed both the 2007 Canadian Championships and the 2006 Elite Canada competition.

“It’s important for me to get out and compete because I’m a little bit rusty,” Gafuik said.

Gafuik, who totaled 89.900 to Ikeda’s 88.250, placed no lower than third on any event during the second night of competition. The 22-year-old from the University of Calgary turned in the highest scores of the meet Saturday night on vault (16.100), high bar (14.900) and floor exercise (15.550), and placed first on parallel bars with a combined score of 29.700.

Ken Ikeda
, an Abbotsford native, placed second all-around, first on pommel horse and second on parallel bars and high bar.

Halifax’s Hugh Smith was third with 84.400. Capital City’s Jared Walls won the rings title with 14.750.

Gafuik, the alternate to the 2004 Olympic team, is optimistic about the team’s chances in 2008 — if the gymnasts are healthy. At the 2007 World Championships in Stuttgart, veterans Kyle Shewfelt and Adam Wong missed the competition because of injuries.

“For me and a lot of other team members it’s about getting healthy,” Gafuik said. “We’re hoping for big things, and I can only hope we compete well.”

The Canadian men placed 11th in Stuttgart to qualify a full team to the 2008 Olympics. Ikeda said that while the team was pleased with the result, it hopes to qualify for team finals in Beijing, as it did at the 2006 World Championships.

“We didn’t do as well as we were hoping we’d do [at the 2007 Worlds], but I think it works out better that way,” Ikeda said. “Hopefully by Beijing we’ll have everyone back in top form and surprise everyone again.”

Jessica Savona of Mississauga won the junior women’s all-around over Montreal’s Ti Liu (Gymnix). British Columbia’s Sky Corbett-Methot (Omega) won the bronze.

Twelth in 2006, Kevin Lytwyn of Ontario’s Burlington B.G.’s won the junior men’s title. Calgary’s John Hall finished second ahead of Saskatchewan’s Anderson Loran.

2006 junior champion Jayd Lukenchuk was absent, having torn his ACL at the “Good Luck Beijing” test event earlier this month.

Silas Radies, who played a Hungarian gymnast in the 2006 film “White Palms,” won the men’s novice all-around.