Posts Tagged ‘Nansy Damianova’

12 days of up and coming gymnasts, day 10

January 1, 2009
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.

And now for someone completely different

December 14, 2008

Coralie Leblond-Chartrand of Montreal won the junior division at Elite Canada today, besting Madeline Gardiner and Rochelle Hurt, according to Gymnastics Canada Gymnastique.

Leblond-Chartrand was the only gymnast to finish in the top three in all four events, placing first on vault, second on beam and third on both floor and unven bars.

“Her program is not as hard as some of the other gymnasts, so she was focusing on being perfect in her execution,” said Leblond-Chartrand’s coach, Katherine Dussault of the Gymnix Gymnastics Club in Montreal. “We know how talented she is and how hard she works so we knew she could do well here,” said Dussault, who guided Nansy Damianova to one of two Canadian spots in the women’s competition at the Beijing Olympics last summer.

An oft-underused philosophy in gymnastics today, when many competitors are simply trying to pack in as much difficulty as possible.

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:

Petitioning Kristina Vaculik to Beijing

May 7, 2008

Kristina VaculikSomeone isn’t happy that 2008 Olympic hopeful Kristina Vaculik is training Nansy Damianova and Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs in the points competiton that will partly determine who makes the Canadian Olympic team.

A petition to Gymnastics Canada Gymnastique, the governing body of Canadian gymnastics, has been set up here.

The fairly complicated Canadian selection process was explained well by Hopfner-Hibbs’s coach Carol-Angela Orchard in an interview with International Gymnast Online last week.

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.

Related post: Nansy Damianova, Olympic hopeful

Vaculik, Hopfner-Hibbs, Lee win Elite Canada event finals

December 17, 2007

Canada's Elyse Hopfner-HibbsFrom International Gymnast Magazine:

Canadian world team members Kristina Vaculik and
Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs each won one event and tied for another as Elite Canada concluded Sunday in Abbotsford, B.C.

Vaculik, winner of Friday’s all-around competition, vaulted a clean Yurchenko full (13.7) and an Omelianchik (13.4) to place first, ahead of Missassauga’s Alyssa Brown and Gymnix Montreal’s Nansy Damianova.

Vaculik continued her success on bars (clear hip full to Tkatchev, full pirouette to Gienger, double front dismount), tying Sport Seneca’s Hopfner-Hibbs (Markelov, Jaeger, toe-on piked Tkatchev, double layout) with a 15.1. Ontario’s Peng-Peng Lee, second in the all-around, was third with a 14.2.

On balance beam, Hopfner-Hibbs turned in a solid routine that included a McCool (front handspring) mount to immediate back tuck and a side aerial to two layout stepouts to edge Vaculik, 15.300 to 14.95. Vaculik also performed a McCool mount but wobbled on her switch leap, back tuck combination.

Hopfner-Hibbs, who won the bronze on beam at the 2006 World Championships, said she is focusing on uneven bars and balance beam leading up to the Olympic Games.

“I’m trying to use all the competitions I get to go to as preparations for Beijing,” she said. “For me it’s just practice.”

Lee, who debuted a back handspring, tucked full combination Friday night, missed it Sunday but managed to place third with a 14.35, despite also falling on a tucked barani. Lee’s 7.0 A score was the highest of any in the competition.

Canada's Peng-Peng Lee

Undeterred, Lee turned in a clean, jazzy floor routine (full in, Arabian double front, 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 twist, double pike) to take top honors ahead of Damianova and Oakville’s Aisha Gerber.

Gerber, who formerly trained with Elvira Saadi at Cambridge Kips, took off five months between October 2006 and March 2007. She is now training with Kelly and Sue Manjak at Oakville Gymnastics in Ontario and said she is attempting to make the Olympic team.

“We are thinking Olympic Games,” Gerber said. “That is my goal and we are building step by step toward that goal.”

In the junior division, all-around runner up Ti Liu of Gymnix was the day’s big winner, placing first on uneven bars (13.85) and balance beam (14.4). Kristen Klarenbach of Ortona Gymnastics in Alberta won vault (13.325), while Laurel Clouston of Salta Gymnastics in Alberta was the top competitor on floor (13.85).

Vaculik wins Elite Canada

December 15, 2007

Canada's Kristina VaculikFrom International Gymnast Magazine:

2007 Canadian national champion Kristina Vaculik overcame a fall on floor exercise to take top honors in the senior women’s all-around at Elite Canada, held Friday night in Abbotsford, British Columbia.

Vaculik scored a 56.9 to hold off challengers Peng-Peng Lee of Seneca, Ont. and Nansy Damianova of Gymnix in Montreal. Although she overrotated her double pike on floor exercise, Vaculik said she looks at the meet as just another stepping stone to next summer’s Olympic Games.

“I just came here and basically told myself to do the same thing I did in Beijing,” said Vaculik, who was sixth in the all-around at the “Good Luck Beijing” International Invitational earlier this month.

Vaculik posted the highest score of the night on uneven bars with a 14.8 and balance beam with a 15.2. Lee put up a 14.6 to qualify first to Sunday’s floor exercise final. Damianova, born in France to Bulgarian parents, was the top qualifier on vault with a 14.5.

2006 world championships bronze medalist Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs competed uneven bars and balance beam only. Hopfner-Hibbs matched Vaculik’s 14.8 on bars and qualified third to the balance beam final with a 14.2.

Competition such as Elite Canada have taken on added importance for those vying for the Canadian women’s two individual berths to the 2008 Olympic Games. (Canada finished 14th at the 2007 World Championships; the top 12 nations qualified full teams.) Gymnastics Canada Gymnastique, the governing body of the sport in Canada, has instituted a selection process through which gymnasts earn points based on their apparatus scores at national and international meets.

The two gymnasts with the highest number of points come June will be selected to represent Canada at the Olympic Games, but special consideration will be given to those who excel on one or two events, said Lise Simard, women’s artistic director for Gymnastics Canada Gymnastique.

Lee, 14, had the lead going into the final rotation but faltered on balance beam, falling on a tucked barani and a front flip and balking on her dismount. She did, however, make her back handspring, back full combination, which she said she had been training for only two months.

“It didn’t feel any different competing at a higher level,” Lee said. “Everything felt really good. I was very confident with my performance.”

Competition continues Saturday in Abbotsford with the second day of men’s all around competition. The University of Calgary’s Nathan Gafuik leads Ken Ikeda and Hugh Smith.

2007 Elite Canada
Dec. 14, Abbotsford, B.C.

Senior Women’s All-Around
1. Kristina Vaculik (Gemini, ON) 56.900
2. Peng-Peng Lee (Sport Seneca, ON) 56.150
3. Nansy Damianova (Gymnix, QC) 56.100
4. Sydney Sawa (CalGym, AB) 53.950
5. Aisha Gerber (Oakville, ON) 53.900
6. Emma Willis (Bluewater, ON) 53.750
7. Alyssa Brown (Mississauga, ON) 53.600