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O Canada!

December 8, 2011

I can’t be the only one who is loving Canada’s juniors. They have originality, difficulty, and good form. If they stay healthy, Canada might be able to earn a spot in team finals in a few years.

Okay, that is not very likely. But still, I am so, so impressed. Here are a few of my favorites.

Victoria Moors

Photo: Grace Chiu's Facebook

First, we have Victoria Moors. Moors was born in 1996, making her eligible for the 2012 Olympics. I’d say that she is a near lock for Canada’s test event team, and gymnastically, she would definitely be able to compete with Lee and Vaculik for an individual spot if she needed to. Unfortunately, I believe that Canada is using the same points system that they used last quadrennium to pick their Olympians, and from what I understand, that system favored the veterans.

She is extreamly valuable to the team because of her vault, where she competes one of Canada’s only double twisting yurchenkos, and floor, where she competes a difficult routine with the same first two passes as world champion Jordyn Wieber, along with some great choreography. In fact, she could be seen as a dark horse for the Olympics floor finals. I can see her in the all around final as well.

Victoria’s floor routine from a competition in France a few weeks ago

Sabrina Gill

Photo: Grace Chiu's Facebook

Sabrina Gill is Canada’s second 1996 star. Sabrina seems like a more nervous competitor than Victoria to me, but she has a lot of good qualities. I loved her old floor routine (watch it here). I don’t feel the same way about her new routine, which has a lot of very similar choreography to her old routine with underwhelming music, but maybe it will grow on me. Canada has a lot of mid-high 13 floor workers, though. If Sabrina makes the Olympic team, it will probably be for her bars, which can break 14, and her beam, which has broken 15 this year. Her vault, a 1 1/2 twisting yurchenko, is an added bonus for the team.

I really like Sabrina. Sometimes, she is a little bit rough around the edges, but her form is generally good. It kind of reminds me of Mikaela Gerber. She has to gain some consistency if she wants to make for the Olympic team, in my opinion.

Sabrina’s 15.2 beam routine from February

Shallon Olsen

Photo: Gymnastics Canada

Shallon won’t be a senior until 2016 (unless Grandi changes his mind about a certain rule that we all hate), but she is amazing right now. As an eleven year old, Shallon is already competing more difficulty than many of her senior teammates with ease. I’m tempted to say “enjoy it while it lasts!” here, but I do not want to. The fear is that Shallon has peaked, or will peak, too early. They may have accepted the petition for her to compete at the Canada Winter Games this year, but Grandi doesn’t do that. My question (and I have been wondering this for a long time) is the following: Would twelve-year-old Shallon be on your 2012 Canadian Olympic Team, if that was an option?

Skill-wise, Shallon is ready to take on the world. No, I don’t mean that she is ready to win a world title, but she is certainly ready to make a Canadian team for a major event. Things like this beam routine, however, make me worry that she will not have a senior career.

Whatever Shallon’s future is, I think that we can all enjoy her vault from Top Gym a few weeks ago. You don’t see eleven year old breaking 15 on vault everyday. Shallon is one special kid.

Maegan Chant

Photo: Miwa Mori, Eurasia-Sports

Maegan is not eligible for the Olympics, but she doesn’t miss it by quite as many years as Olsen does. She is another strong vault and floor girl (where were these 5.8+ vaults at worlds?). I do not think that she has the WOW factor of Olsen, but she’s got to be a contender for future teams. This is one gymnast who we may see in a meet like Pacific Rims next year.

Chant has a really clean double twisting tsukahara. Who does those nowadays, besides some random Chinese girls? Her floor routine includes a nice double layout and three other double saltos. This girl is a powerhouse. I’m looking forward to seeing how she develops in the next few years

Rick from Gymnastics Coaching recorded all of Maegan’s routines from the all around competition of the Japan Junior International in September, which you can watch below.

Some Others

I also like Natalie Vaculik, especially her really high release moves (click here to watch her bars) and Gabriella Douglas, who was born in 1996 but is not on the National Team, because of her huge aerial-back tuck combo on beam (click here to watch it). That is a combination. The end.

Looking Forward

The Canadian Junior (A) team beat the Russian Junior (1997/8/B) team at the Gymnix International this year. That team included Jordyn Pedersen, along with Moors, Gill and Vaculik. Most of those girls were born in 1996, which means that no, I do not expect Canada to be beating Russia anytime soon (or just anytime in general) in a world level competition. I am excited, however, to see how this team develops in the next few years. The journey for this group of girls begins in a month in London, and I hope to see even the older girls sticking around in elite competition until at least 2014, when they may want to consider NCAA. No matter what, the future is looking bright for Canada.

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