Canadian Nationals 2014: A Preview

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Ellie Black (L) original by Grace Click Chiu, edit by lovegymnastics04
Victoria Moors (R), original by Christy Linder(?), edit by i-dont-understand-gymnastics

After placing 5th at the Olympics, a lot of attention has been earned by Canada's National Team. Known mostly for their style on floor, the Canadian women have made a name for themselves as gymnasts to watch on the World Championship and Olympic stage. As the difficulty increases, the competitiveness amongst the team grows across all events. It will be interesting to see who takes the top spot in the all-around as well as the event finals.

Where there is great sport, there is also great rivalry.

Not many talk about a Victoria Moors and Ellie Black rivalry but I imagine that one has to exist. With the other 3 members of the Olympic team competing in NCAA and recovering from injury, these 2 are the veterans of the Canadian team. At the 2013 World Championships, the first meet since the Olympics where both were healthy (in relative gymnastics terms), Black qualified in 10th with Moors in 15th. In the final, Moors finished in 10th with Black in 13th place. At Elite Canada early in 2014, Black placed 3rd while Moors won the meet. According to The All Around, Black has the highest AA score of the 2 with a 57.100 while Moors follows closely with a 56.898. These two are constantly battling for the highest honor.

Not only does the rivalry exist in the all around, it also exists amongst the individual events. Moors has an original toe-on front layout half dismount named after her on uneven bars. There is footage of Black training this dismount with an extra half twist. Both are excellent floor workers with extraordinary presentation while Black was the only one to make the floor event finals at the 2013 World Championships. These two are constantly neck and neck and I only think this rivalry helps the sport to grow and keeps a level of intensity amongst the Canadian women's team that will only help to produce more success.

Of note, it was a year ago at this meet that Victoria Moors debuted the double twisting double layout. There is video of her working a double front dismount off uneven bars and an arabian 1/4 on floor (presumably for beam). It will be interesting to see what upgrades she shows this year.

The next few athletes to watch are based on who has competed recently and who could possibly make up a World Championship team. The next most important is most likely Aleeza Yu. She is a first year senior who placed 2nd at 2014 Elite Canada between Moors and Black. If Canada wanted to be nit-picky, they could probably get away with sending a team of Moors, Black, and Yu. Yu is most known for her uneven bar and floor exercise. She has excellent flexibility which lends itself to a beautiful bars routine. Like the aforementioned Canadians, she also has lovely presentation on floor exercise. Her music is atypical and eerie but she uses it so well that you can't help but watch the whole way through.

The athlete that would most optimize medal chances is Maegan Chant. She made her senior international debut at the American Cup in 2013. She went on to make the 2013 Worlds team but had a fall on vault that cost her a place in the final. Chant did well at Elite Canada. It would be most important to watch how she performs on vault and floor exercise as these are her 2 strongest events. How she does on bars and beam would just help make her a more useful asset to a Worlds team.

If there's a weakness of the 4 athletes mentioned above, it would be on uneven bars. The two ladies that stand the strongest chance of earning a spot for their bar work would be Isabela Onyshko and Victoria-Kayen Woo. Onyshko is a lovely bar worker and has the added benefit of being a lovely floor worker. Woo is capable of having a lovely bar routine but has had some issues with consistency and doesn't quite have the ability to fill in on other events like Onyshko. Hitting uneven bars will be crucial for her. Onyshko is a very beautiful floor worker. She currently has the same floor music as Victoria Moors but interprets it differently and excellently in her own right.

Some mystery gymnasts include Gabriella Douglas and Kaitlyn Hofland. In my opinion, these 2 were fighting for the last spot on the 2014 Worlds team when Douglas got injured. Hofland is a strong uneven bar worker but has been missing from competition all year. Douglas is recovering from her shoulder injury and it's unclear in what capacity she'll be back ready to compete. There are many videos of her training on beam so if she can bring her beam to near what it was in 2013, she has a good chance of raising the eyebrows of the selection committee in her direction. Another mystery is Heaven Latimer who is a first year senior this year but who we have not seen compete for quite sometime. She has (had?) a bhs-bhs-layout full on beam. Other athletes to watch would be Natalie Vaculik on uneven bars and Stefanie Merkle on floor exercise.

The junior competition is also heating up. Shallon Olsen was the reigning junior champion thanks to her fabulous double twisting Yurchenko. Rose-Kaying Woo is quickly catching up increasing difficulty on all events. Canada often implements a junior D-score bonus so it's difficult to tell who is actually on top. However, at recent meets without junior bonus, like Pacific Rims and Junior Pan American Games, Woo has come out on top. These two become seniors in 2016 so they will be ones to watch until Rio. The other member of Canada's teams who have travelled are Sydney Townsend and Megan Roberts. Townsend has a high D-score on BB and FX. Roberts is strong on UB. Look for these 4 to place in all the event finals.

*Fun fact: There was video of Rose Woo training a front double pike dismount off uneven bars on facebook but I can't find it anymore.

Canadian Gymnastics Championships will run May 27-31 with multiple disciplines - artistic, rhythmic, and trampoline.

Tuesday, May 27
3:30pm ET WAG Sr Qualifications
7:00pm ET WAG Jr Qualifications

Thursday, May 29
6:30pm ET WAG Jr/Sr AA Final

Saturday, May 31
2:00pm ET WAG Jr/Sr EF
More info