Operation Fall in Love with Canada
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.