Operation Fall in Love with Canada

2:31 PM Arabian Punch Front 25 Comments

Madeline Gardiner
Credit: Grace Chiu


I've had a growing love affair with Canada. Maybe it started with Peng Peng Lee stealing my heart as a junior, vanishing for some time, and reappearing with a vengeance. Maybe it was Kristina Vaculik's bar work and her Rufolva on beam. Maybe it was Brittany Rogers's "Rogers." Maybe it was rooting for Talia Chiarelli or the elation every time Victoria Moors stuck her double double. Regardless of what first started this, it's my job to share some of that love with you.

After Canada's 5th place finish at the Olympics, many people started to wonder if Canada could break into the "Big 4" or if the Big 4 would become the Big 5. Based on their juniors and the work of their seniors, Canada seems to be on the right track. There are some foot issues running rampant through the country, some leap issues on beam and floor that should be rectified, and they may need some Martha-induced fear to ensure they stay on the beam in between the moments of beautiful choreography. Other than that, I can't help but enjoy watching many of the Canadians perform.

Canadian Nationals recently passed and there was a live stream available. A fair number of routines have been uploaded to youtube but I wasn't able to find every video so I used old competitions. I put my opinion below the video so that you can watch the video first. Let me know what you think in the comments!

*indicates a junior. The juniors received D-score bonuses. I'm unsure of what the qualifications were so just know D-scores approaching 6, >6 are likely due to the bonus.

Sydney Townsend* (AA EF - 5.6/13.575)

I really love this jazzy routine. When I tweeted, I called her Canada's answer to Sydney Johnson-Scharpf. She needs to work on her leaps but has pretty good tumbling and great musicality. In the FX EF, she performed really well.


Maddie Gardiner - 5.2/13.125/-.1

Maddie Gardiner. Not enough positive things can be said about this gymnast and the way she dances. To me, she's definitely one of the most "artistic" in Canada when you watch her on floor or on beam. I love this music and I love the change in pace and how her choreography and tumbling matches it. Maddie will be headed to Oregon State University so hopefully we get to see more of her floor and beam.

Natalie Vaculik - 5.5/14.050

Yes. This is the sister of 2012 Olympian and current Stanford gymnast Kristina Vaculik. Sometimes, they look nothing alike - watching Natalie on beam doesn't remind me much of her sister. Other times, they look exactly alike. How so? One word: Gienger! Natalie is a great bar worker and I love how high she gets on her Gienger. From what I could find, Natalie has been in the ranks of juniors but has had some unfortunate injuries. Natalie came in 2nd in the all-around final with the 2nd highest bar score. She tied for 4th in bars event finals because she had some errors on her hop to Jaeger.

Brianna Clark* UB 1st place - 6.4/14.850

Brianna won 1st place with this bar routine. From what I could see, she's definitely one of the best on UB along with Aleeza Yu. Her el-grip giant needs a little work but reminded me of Vanessa Ferrari - you know World Champion and 2-time Olympian. She has a nice Tkatchev and has nice stalder work. I think she'll grow beautifully on bars. I also really liked her on floor exercise (here). Brianna placed 3rd in the all-around and is definitely a gymnast to watch.




Emily Lennon - (Elite Canada) EF

Emily Lennon finished 4th on balance beam. She's like Catalina Ponor and Alicia Sacramone combined. Lennon has choreography that isn't just walking but has the maturity and sass that matches the 2 Olympians. She has her wobbles at times but has that cool confidence that lets you forget that she's on the beam. She'll be headed to Illinois for the next season.



Aleeza Yu* FX (Elite Canada)

When I watched this, I remember saying something along the lines of, "Wow! Someone actually does some choreo before their opening leap or first tumbling pass." Thank you for that, Aleeza! Her leaps are nice and I think she has improved her foot form from this video in February to now (Canadian Nationals).

Isabela Onyshko* FX (Elite Canada)

Dramatic music and great choreo. Her tumbling is a little wild here as is the foot and leap issue, but I don't remember thinking that while watching Nationals - I just remember sitting back and watching a beautiful routine. She has some difficult passes and her choreography and movement matches the music well. I really enjoy this routine as a whole - both for the choreo and tumbling.

Stefanie Merkle FX - 5.4/13.725

Stefanie earned 2nd on uneven bars and 3rd on floor exercise at Nationals. I really enjoy this routine - another nice jazzy piece with great musicality and appropriate choreography going along with the vocals. Stefanie is headed for Ohio State.

I'd say that a team to watch in Canada is Futures Gymnastics. They had seniors Kaitlyn Hofland, Mariana Colussi-Pelaez, Gabriella Douglas, Casey Carvalho, and Sabrina Gill and junior Kirsten Peterman competing at Nationals. They may need a separate post but I definitely think they are gymnasts to watch for their performance quality and attention to detail. Across the board, they all have beautiful choreography on beam which is rare these days since there is so much emphasis on "tricks" and not much time for anything else. Kaitlyn Hofland won uneven bars at Nationals with Mariana Colussi-Pelaez in 3rd. Teammate Gabriella (Ella) Douglas won floor exercise and Ella and Katelyn received 2nd and 3rd place on balance beam. If Canada does decide to send 4 gymnasts to Worlds, I think it is most likely between these 2 teammates. However, consistency is a major issue for both Douglas and Hofland (or really anyone Canada chooses besides Ellie Black, Victoria Moors, and Maegan Chant) so we'll just have to wait and see! [Ella will be heading to MSU and Kaitlyn will attend Utah]

Results for Canadian Nationals can be found here

What did you think of the routines above? Any athletes that I missed?

25 comments :

  1. There are some Canadians in the National Open category that deserve some recognition too!

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    1. Like who? I'll be more than happy to go video hunting :) I'll look at the results and see what I can find.

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    2. take a look at Hailee Westney, also from Futures. She won the AA in the 16+ and made podium on floor, beam and bars.

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    3. I actually watched her last night too! I really like her bar work. I'll have to find more vids of National Open athletes!

      Also, would you mind explaining what National Open is? Someone asked me and I had no idea. Is it like a pre-elite level or are these the elites but not international elites?

      Thanks so much!

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    4. isnt it just national but the age is different. i think it just means they are national but are not in junior or senior. i could be wrong but thats the way i understood it.

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    5. In Canada you are either High Performance (HP Novice, Junior or Senior) or not (Novice or Open). The Open category is a really mixed bag of competitors from 13 years and up of girls who are either just making the National category or perhaps were High Performance but injured and didn't make the list. Opens are either 13-15 or 16+ in the AA division but all together in the team event.

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    6. You should look up "Alannah McPherson" she is still in need of difficulty but she has great power and is an Open!

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    7. I agree! Some of the national open athletes are very talented! The winner of the open category age 13-15 was Brianna Sheridan. She is from Ontario and she definitely one to watch. She is very consistent too!

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  2. Take a look at Marisa Dick! She placed 4th in the 16+ division and won floor!

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    1. I watched her floor last night and I really enjoyed it. She definitely fits the bill of Canadians having amazing choreography. Thanks for the suggestion!

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    2. And here's her floor for anyone else who wants to watch it! http://youtu.be/zX19rw7Tndo [From what I read, she may also compete for Trinidad. No idea on the details though!]

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    3. Yes she is the sole member of Trinidad & Tobago's National Team! She will be attending Pan American Games in Puerto Rico for this team in August!

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    4. Oh, great. I just saw a video of her training on the T&T facebook page. I'll have to compare it to what she did at Nationals but she looks great on UB. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=592218394124104

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  3. Thanks so much for this! Share your enthusiasm for the Canadian team and appreciate all the *excellent* work your are doing.

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    1. Thanks so much for the sweet comment. I really hope Canada continues on the path they're on and I hope I gained them a few more fans in the process! :)

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  4. Love the floor routines! The choreography flows really well with the music, and the gymnasts are actually performing in time with the music!

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    1. Agreed! They're a country full of performers and I love it!

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  5. A little surprised you didnt choose to post Kaitlyn Hoflands winning bar routine .. considering she won the event by over 2 full marks. This young lady has beautiful line on bars!

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    1. I agree........wonderful bar routine!

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    2. Honestly, the only reason I didn't put it is because I'm thinking of doing a post on just the Futures gymnasts. They're all great in their own way!

      I definitely agree that Kaitlyn has beautiful lines on all events. When I was watching her on BB, I was using a different feed and zooming out was actually great because her lines are jaw-dropping and beautiful and I don't think I ever appreciated them like that before. Trust me, I was so excited for her bars especially her stuck double front so if I can find enough videos of her teammates (and the time - school!), I'll do the post!

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  6. Great post......Kirsten Peterman has already verbally committed to Maryland Terrapins.

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    1. Really? Thanks for letting me know! I think I need to add a "Canada" section to my college commits page!

      I had a gymnast for fantasy gymnastics on Maryland's team and that's turned me into a Terp fan. I guess we have a few years before NCAA but hopefully Kirsten continues with a successful elite career.

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