Sport Seneca Style

July 24th, 2009 by Gymbit



Three years ago, Toronto’s Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs made history as the first female Canadian to win a medal at the World Championships. In recent years, this country’s medal hopes had rested on Olympians such as Stella Umeh, Yvonne Tousek and Kate Richardson, but it wasn’t until 2006 that a Canadian gymnast stood proudly on the most prestigious podium of all. Only seasoned competitors Irina Krasnyanska (UKR) and Sandra Izbasa (ROM) scored higher than Elyse’s 15.475 on the balance beam.

Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs, 2006 World Championships

Elyse’s routine exudes the beam style shared by many Sport Seneca gymnasts of the past. In the next few beam routines, you’ll note the particular type of choreography and the skills (in particular the illusions, the double turns and the Homma flairs mounts, named for Sport Seneca gymnast Leah Homma) that make these beam routines distinctly Seneca.

Peng Peng Lee, 2008 Canadian National Championships

Lydia Williams, 2003 8-Country Competition in the Netherlands

Michelle Conway, 1999 World Championships

And perhaps the first from this Toronto gymnastics club to demonstrate this distinct style:

Koyuki Oka, 1988 Pacific Alliance

Now that Sport Seneca’s head coach, Carol-Angela Orchard, has left for England, it remains to be seen whether current gymnasts like Peng Peng Lee can maintain the high level of gymnastics the club has contributed to the Canadian scene over the past few decades. Peng Peng continues to train with former Sport Seneca coach Brian McVey at Discovery Gymnastics.

Posted in Training | 5 Comments »

5 Responses to “Sport Seneca Style”

  1. RJL Says:

    Luisa Portocarrero was another Sport Seneca gymnast who displayed similar choreography and skills in her beam routine. It’s funny that this club has produced so many top Canadian gymnasts, but they seem to come mostly one after another and rarely at the same time!

  2. Gymbit Says:

    Yes, you’re right! Portocarrero also performed a double turn and an illusion when she competed in the early 1990s. She experienced much success, and was in fact the alternate to the beam final at the 1992 Olympic Games where she represented Guatemala.

    Here’s her fantastic beam routine:

  3. RJL Says:

    Thanks for posting that! I had forgotten what a great routine that was. Nice for her to get some international TV coverage as well. :)

  4. RG Says:

    I’ve read elsewhere that Peng Peng Lee is no longer with Brian McVey, who is retiring to Panama. She has seriously injured her back and cannot compete until 2010. When she resumes training, it will be with Kelly and Susan Manjak in Oakville. Kelly Manjak, of course, was the coach of Olympic gold medallist Kyle Shewfelt.

  5. Luisa Portocarrero – balance beam — Gymnastics Coaching.com Says:

    […] I was reminded of Luisa after seeing this routine linked from a Gymbits post – Sport Seneca Style. […]

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