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Two Olympians to represent Canada in Gymnastics

Summer Games 31 May 2013

OTTAWA Canadian Interuniversity Sport, in conjunction with Gymnastics Canada, announced Thursday the student-athletes and staff members who will represent Canada in artistic and rhythmic gymnastics at the 2013 Summer Universiade in Kazan, Russia.

A total of 12 gymnasts will wear the Maple Leaf in Kazan, including five in women’s artistic, five in men’s artistic and two in rhythmic.

The artistic competition is set for July 7 to 10, with rhythmic following from July 14 to 16.

The Canadian roster is highlighted by a pair of 2012 Olympians, including Ellie Black, a Dalhousie University student from Halifax on the artistic side, and Kelsey Titmarsh, a Ryerson University student from Thornhill, Ont., in rhythmic events.   

Rounding out the women’s artistic lineup are Erica Devereaux of Logy Bay, Nfld., Sarah Flett of Winnipeg, Natalie Gervais, also of Winnipeg, and Mackenzie Itcush of Calgary. They will be accompanied in Russia by coaches David Kikuchi and Jeremy Mosier, as well as team leader Rachelle Valel.

The men’s artistic squad is comprised of Evan Cruz of Halifax, Tariq Dowers of Mississauga, Ont., Aiden Marsden of Edmonton, Cory Paterson of Oakville, Ont., and Joshua Stuart of Richmond, B.C., who will perform under the leadership of coach Christopher Foo and team leader William Greg Jackson.

Kelsey Anderson of Vernon, B.C., joins Titmarsh on the rhythmic roster, along with team leader Tatsiana Kastsenkava.

Canada will compete at the Universiade in women’s artistic gymnastics for the first time since 1999. Over the years, Canadian women have won two medals at the FISU Games, both in 1983 in Edmonton, when Anita Botnen merited bronze at the balance beam and was also part of a third-place finish in the team competition. 

Black dominated at the Canadian championships held last week in Ottawa, where she was crowned at the senior high performance level thanks to gold medals in the all-around competition and at the beam, silver in floor exercise and bronze at the vault. The 17-year-old gained national attention last summer as a surprise addition to the Olympic roster and contributed to Canada’s best-ever finish in team competition, a fifth position. She also qualified for the vault final in London, placing eighth.

On the men’s side, Cruz and Dowers are the most experienced members of a young but talented contingent.

A first-year senior national team member, Cruz has already competed at one World Cup event this year and will make a stop in Portugal on his way to Kazan for his second World Cup appearance.

Dowers made the Commonwealth Games roster as a junior in 2010 and helped Canada to a bronze medal in the team competition.

The Canadian men have captured six Universiade medals over the years, including a pair at the last biennial Games in 2011 in Shenzhen, China, where Nathan Gafuik of Calgary claimed silver at the vault and bronze in the individual all-around competition. Other Canadian podium finishes include Brandon O’Neill’s gold in floor exercise in 2005 (Izmir, Turkey), Brad Peters’ bronze at the parallel bars in 1985 (Kobe, Japan), Philippe Chartand’s gold at the high bar in 1983, as well as Warren Long’s silver at the vault, also in Edmonton.

In rhythmic gymnastics, Titmarsh was part of the first-ever Canadian senior group to earn a berth to the Olympics last summer and helped the team finish 11th overall. At the 2011 Pan American Games, the senior group amassed two silver medals and a bronze. 

Anderson is a veteran of the 2011 Universiade squad. In China, the Okanagan College student placed 29th in the individual all-around event.

Canada’s lone FISU Games medal in the discipline came in 1991 in Sheffield, England, when Susie Cushman finished third in the clubs final.


(Source: Michel Bélanger, CIS Manager Communications & Media Relations)