Posts Tagged ‘2010 Montreal World Cup’

L’International Gymnix 2010

Monday, March 29th, 2010



The 2010 edition marked the third time I have attended the Gymnix International and Junior Cups, and while the field was not quite as deep as in years past, it was still lots of fun for me, my sister and our friend Catherine. This year I recognized two judges, Romanian star Gina Gogean and Pam Collett of Canada, who judged me when I was a high school gymnast!

Judge Gina Gogean (ROU) Marches In

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lkVh_HG-iBI

The highlight was seeing the up-and-coming juniors from Russia and Romania, but truth be told, the Canadian juniors showed just as much potential! For the most part, they displayed great form and adequate levels of difficulty. With all these fantastic gymnasts, I couldn’t help but wonder why the Canadian ladies haven’t been so successful on the world stage in recent years (with the exception of Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs’s medal on beam at the 2006 World Championships, of course!). Maybe this new generation is the one that will launch Canada into contention for team finals at Worlds.

Madeline Gardiner won the all-around portion of the competition ahead of Riley Cholod, who was fresh off her victory at the Nadia Comaneci Invitational. In third place was Maria Karpova, the youngest of the four Russian gymnasts. Rounding out the Top 10 was a talented field: Diana Bulimar, Ekaterina Baturina, Ekaterina Shtronda and Mikaela Gerber (tie), Victoria Moors, Alena Marchenko and Shae Zamardi. It’s interesting to note that Cholod, Gardiner and Gerber allowed for a Canadian sweep of the uneven bars medals!

Madeline Gardiner (CAN), Uneven Bars, 2010 Gymnix Junior Cup

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eBiAO0pROlI

Riley Cholod (CAN), Floor Exercise, 2010 Gymnix Junior Cup

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qUoUR7qyt7c

Mikaela Gerber (CAN), Floor Exercise, 2010 Gymnix Junior Cup

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RgAC7k-s53U

I particularly enjoyed the floor exercises of the Russian gymnasts, as they displayed the polish that has become the hallmark of their national program. Their technique on even the most basic skills was beyond compare, but these gymnasts are so young that they won’t be eligible for senior competition until 2013 and 2014.

Maria Karpova (RUS), Floor Exercise, 2010 Gymnix Junior Cup

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aXN4kuqhiME

Ekaterina Baturina (RUS), Floor Exercise, 2010 Gymnix Junior Cup

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hmclNnRwIhU

Alena Marchenko (RUS), Floor Exercise, 2010 Gymnix Junior Cup

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E7bWhCbJaSA

It was interesting to see how high Ekaterina Shtronda set before pulling around the delayed double back. You can see it in the video, but it seemed even more dramatic live.

Ekaterina Shtronda (RUS), Floor Exercise, 2010 Gymnix Junior Cup

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yrOI31Ek2nQ

Young Maegan Chant showed great potential with difficult skills including a double layout mount on floor exercise followed by a full-in. She is coached at World Class Gymnastics by Cristina Bontas, who achieved much success for Romania in the late 1980s and early 1990s. With just a little more polish, Chant will be a major player on the Canadian scene.

Maegan Chant (CAN), Floor Exercise, 2010 Gymnix Junior Cup

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WjwMs3CkF_8

I was looking forward to seeing the Romanian juniors that I’d heard so much about: Larisa Iordache, Diana Bulimar, Ana Maria Baicu, and a new name for me, Tatiana Geamparoiu. They suffered a few falls on balance beam, but as usual they shone on floor exercise. I enjoyed Iordache’s piked full-in off bars.

Larisa Iordache (ROU), Balance Beam, 2010 Gymnix Junior Cup

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKA7PTw_PVE

Diana Bulimar (ROU), Floor Exercise, 2010 Gymnix Junior Cup

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yH01aPh3NKk

Ana Maria Baicu (ROU), Floor Exercise, 2010 Gymnix Junior Cup

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mP9rR5ldx7Q

Tatiana Geamparoiu (ROU), Vault, 2010 Gymnix Junior Cup

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3hZBhGq3c6g

Unfortunately, the International Cup portion of the competition wasn’t very well attended this year. Apart from the Canadians, the only gymnasts from abroad were some Parkettes (coach Donna Strauss was spotted with a knee brace of her own!), two Finnish girls and a South African.

Kristina Vaculik (CAN) was in a league of her own, winning the all-around by more than four points, uneven bars, balance beam and floor exercise. I had a chuckle when I saw her coach, 1980 Olympic Champion Yelena Davydova, judging her on balance beam. Vaculik later went on to achieve great success (two golds and two silvers) at the Cottbus World Cup in Germany.

Kristina Vaculik (CAN), Floor Exercise, 2010 Gymnix International Cup

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vVHMnl5m11Q

Olympian Nansy Damianova (CAN) showed off a nice Spanish floor exercise to place third.

Nansy Damianova (CAN), Floor Exercise, 2010 Gymnix International Cup

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WdZZbzB89uI

Anysia Unick (CAN) performed well in her first year as a senior, winning the gold on vault and the silver on floor exercise. Cynthia Lemieux (CAN) always manages to gather quite a collection of medals, and this time she brought home silver in the all-around and bronze on uneven bars. Annika Urvikko (FIN) was the only foreign athlete to break into the medals with her third place on vault.

During the awards ceremony, former Olympians and Gymnix alumnae Cathy Giancaspro, Mylène Fleury, Julie Beaulieu, Amélie Plante and Nansy Damianova were on hand to present the medals to the winners. After the competition, the gymnasts and the audience enjoyed a performance by Cirque du Soleil (during which the Romanian gymnasts munched on apples!).And so, another year of Gymnix has come to an end. I hope that by next year the field will be prestigious enough to include a Women’s World Cup event to go along with the Men’s World Cup.

2010 Montreal World Cup

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

“Shusuke Kikuchi!”…”Jad Mazahreh!”…the announcer put on some great accents as he presented the gymnasts at the second annual Montreal World Cup. Although the field was a bit sparse, there was some great gymnastics on display.

The class of the field on floor exercise was Japanese Shusuke Kikuchi, who won by 0.65 over teammate Kyoichi Watanabe and Canadian Kevin Lytwyn. His routine included three double layouts: layout Arabian double front, layout half-in half-out to punch front-1 1/4, and a double layout dismount. Throw in three more twisting passes, and there’s your winner!

Shusuke Kikuchi (JPN), Floor Exercise, 2010 Montreal World Cup

Jordanian Ali Al Asi showed some interesting skills as well, starting with a double-twisting double layout, showing off a really low planche hold, and ending with a double layout (hands down).

Ali Al Asi (JOR), Floor Exercise, 2010 Montreal World Cup

The Finns had two young gymnasts in the floor final, Sakari Vekki (who qualified in second place behind Kikuchi) and Tomi Tuuha. The Austrians also had two gymnasts at the Montreal World Cup: Marco Mayr, who qualified to most of the event finals, and Julian Egermann, who ended up only competing on vault. He was set to perform in the floor final as well, but he suffered a scary fall to his back during the general warm up and appeared to have the wind knocked out of him.

The crowd was treated to one of the international stars on pommel horse. Krisztian Berki of Hungary displayed superb extension and a lengthy routine on his way to the gold medal, 1.15 points over silver medallist Canadian Ken Ikeda.

Krisztian Berki (HUN), Pommel Horse, 2010 Montreal World Cup

Kevin Lytwyn gave the home crowd something to cheer for with his rings routine. He defeated Ali Al Asi, who led the field in qualifications, with steady iron crosses and a stick on his layout full-out dismount.

Kevin Lytwyn (CAN), Rings, 2010 Montreal World Cup (and Maria Karpova’s beam!)

Nathan Gafuik provided the other gold medal for the Canadian team on vault with his Yurchenko-2.5 (stuck!) and his tucked double front (just about stuck!). Kikuchi and Tomi Tuuha (FIN) were both close on Gafuik’s heels, each with a Kasamatsu-2.5 and a layout Rudi.

Nathan Gafuik (CAN), Vault 2, 2010 Montreal World Cup

Tomi Tuuha (FIN), Vault 1, 2010 Montreal World Cup

Kyoichi Watanabe showed a lightness in his clean work on parallel bars to win the title on this event. The two Canadians placed second and third, and they were the only gymnasts to perform double backs between the bars (a Belle for Ikeda and a Morisue for Lytwyn). Tomi Tuuha dismounted with a not-often-seen layout front full.

Kyoichi Watanabe (JPN), Parallel Bars, 2010 Montreal World Cup

Ken Ikeda (CAN), Parallel Bars, 2010 Montreal World Cup

High bar was as exciting as always, with a field that included Slovenian Aljaz Pegan performing his signature release skill. It’s funny to see Pegan in training with his legs everywhere, but then in competition he showed the Montreal crowd the routine and the excellent form that has won him so many medals. This time he lost the title by just 0.1 despite putting his hands down on his triple back dismount.

Topping the field was Kohei Kameyama, bringing home the third gold of this competition to his native Japan. The highlight of his routine for me was not so much his super Kolman or the layout full-out dismount, but his exquisite toepoint! It’s hard to see with his competition socks on, but I have never seen a male gymnast with such a great toepoint before. It was reminiscent of Lilia Podkopayeva and the Fraguas sisters! Canadian Jackson Payne grabbed the bronze medal despite a fall after an Endo-full to layout Jaeger. He ended with a stuck double twisting double layout.

Kohei Kameyama (JPN), High Bar, 2010 Montreal World Cup

Aljaz Pegan (SLO), High Bar, 2010 Montreal World Cup

Jackson Payne (CAN), High Bar, 2010 Montreal World Cup

And there you have it…. This is only the second time this city has hosted the Montreal World Cup event, and I’m looking forward to attending in years to come. Last year the women’s side had a very small field and it was cancelled altogether this time around, but hopefully in the years to come this meet will develop into a competition as great as the DTB Cup and the Glasgow Grand Prix.