Presenting the seven women who will attempt to earn Canada a team berth to the Olympic Games for the first time since 2004:
- Kristina Vaculik
- Talia Chiarelli
- Dominique Pegg
- Madeline Gardiner
- Coralie Leblond-Chartrand
- Mikaela Gerber
- Peng Peng Lee
It’s very much the “new look” for Canada at this World Championships. Of the seven named to the team, only two (Vaculik and Leblond-Chartrand) competed on the team that finished 13th at the 2010 Worlds.
Lee, for all her experience as a junior sensation, is only now healthy, but appears to be in the top condition of her career. Word is she vaults a good double-twisting Yurchenko, something Canada desperately needs if it’s going to finish in the top 12 (hey, maybe even the top eight!) in Tokyo. (Rebecca Bross fans will be happy to know that Lee dislocated her kneecap doing a double-twisting Yurchenko before the Canadian Championships in May. Here we are three and a half months later and she’s been judged Worlds-ready.)
Dominique Pegg missed last year’s Worlds due to injury but made an impressive showing at the Canadian Nationals and also added a double layout to her repertoire at the Japan Cup. Gardiner, Chiarelli and Gerber (younger sister of Canadian and UCLA standout Aisha Gerber) are all new seniors this year. Gardiner (the reigning Canadian all-around champion) and Gerber bring elegance; Chiarelli provides another much-needed DTY on vault and difficult tumbling on floor.
Of course, only six will compete, but governing body Gymnastics Canada Gymnastique has not announced who will be the alternate. Best guess would be Leblond-Chartrand, who is very consistent but does not have the difficulty of some of her teammates. Vault will be an important event for the Canadians, who will probably battle with Brazil, France, Ukraine and Germany for top 12 spots.
The feeling at the Canadian Championships was one of cautious optimism after Canada barely missed out on qualifying a full women’s team to the 2008 Olympics due to a disastrous performance in qualification at the 2007 Worlds (Canada finished 13th, and the top 12 teams earned Olympic berths).
Left off the squad is standout Brittany Rogers, and uneven bars star Bianca Dancose-Giambattisto, who finished third all-around at the Canadian Championships in Charlottetown a few months ago. The Canadian women will also be without the powerful Jessica Savona, who was injured landing a double-twisting Yurchenko at the Japan Cup in July.
Junior Canadian champion Victoria Moors and 2010 junior national champion Sabrina Gill do not become age-eligible to compete at the senior level until next year.
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