Posts Tagged ‘Nathan Gafuik’

12 to watch in 2009 — a recap

January 8, 2009

Japans Kohei Uchimura is likely to be very successful in 2009.

Japan's Kohei Uchimura is likely to be very successful in 2009.

Posted late last month and early into this one, here are my picks for who will make waves in 2009:

    Sabrina Gill, Canada
    Kohei Uchimura, Japan
    Jeffery Wammes and Epke Zonderland, Netherlands
    Viktoria Komova, Russia
    Fabian Hambuchen, Germany
    Larissa Iordache, Romania
    Samantha Shapiro and Jordyn Wieber, USA
    Alexy Bilozerchev, USA
    Tatiana Nabieva, Russia
    Nathan Gafuik, Canada
    Cui Jie, China
    Benoit Caranobe, France

Honorable mentions: Peng-Peng Lee and Charlotte Mackie, Canada; Becky Downie, Great Britain; Koko Tsurumi, Japan; Paola Galente, Italy, Ksenia Semyonova, Aliya Mustafina and Nailia Mustafina,  Russia; Sergei Khorokhordin, Russia; Alexander Vorobyov, Ukraine; Stephen Legendre, USA; Thomas Bouhail, France; Zou Kai, China; Louis Smith, Great Britain. Good luck to all in 2009.

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.

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