Five gymnasts qualify women’s Olympic team at final selection meet in Gatineau, Quebec
GATINEAU, Que. -- Canada’s top-five women gymnasts can start packing their bags for London after qualifying for the Games at a final Olympic selection meet on Thursday.
Three-time Canadian all around champion Kristina Vaculik of Whitby, Ont., topped the 11 finalists in the running for an Olympic berth with a total of 94.40 points.
Selection was based primarily on results from the 2012 Canadian championships and the two-day Olympic selection meet which began on Tuesday.
Also qualifying for Canada’s first full team in women’s gymnastics since the 2004 Olympics were Victoria Moors of Cambridge, Ont., Brittany Rogers of Coquitlam, B.C., Dominique Pegg of Sarnia, Ont., and Ellie Black of Halifax.
Vaculik, who is taking a year off from Stanford University where she competes on a gymnastics scholarship, jumped into an early lead in the Olympic selection race with a strong performance at the Canadian championships last month in Regina and never looked back.
“It’s just an incredible feeling,” said Vaculik, who narrowly missed a spot on the 2008 Olympic team and then sat out for over a year with an elbow injury.
“I’ve wanted to go to the Olympics for a long time. Now I’m just going to be working hard every day, marking down the time to the Olympics and being really excited about what I’m doing.”
Moors placed second overall with 78.80 points and had the highest score in Thursday’s final competition.
“I’m just so excited to be going to the Olympics,” said Moors, at 15 the youngest member of the team and a surprising medal threat in the floor exercise, her signature event.
“I’ve been doing my floor routine for several years and it’s just a case of practise makes perfect. I’m still working to make it better.”
Rogers, ranked sixth coming into the final selection meet, claimed her Olympic berth after moving up three places to finish third overall with 42.80 points
“I knew I had a solid performance this week but I didn’t know how close I was and as soon as they announced my name I wanted to drop,” said Rogers.
“I’ve worked so hard for this and I’m really glad that all that hard work has paid off. It’s a dream come true. It’s incredible.”
Pegg struggled on the first day Tuesday but bounced back with a strong overall performance on day two, placing fourth all around and first on floor to finish fourth with 34.50 points.
“The first day was a little shaky because of all the pressure but this is what we’ve been working for our whole lives,” said Pegg. “We do what we love and what we need to do to get through it all.”
Black, who burst into Olympic contention with two medals at a World Cup meet in Croatia in April, earned the fifth and final spot on the team with 29.90 points.
Jessica Savona of Oakville, Ont., and Madeline Gardiner of Cambridge, Ont., were named first and second reserve athletes respectively.