2012 Olympian Ellie Black was gearing up to win every national all-around title this quad, but this is the year of Isabela Onyshko, currently undefeated domestically in 2016. At the 2016 Canadian Championships in Edmonton last week, it was Onyshko who ended Black’s reign, and with the highest Canadian all-around score in history.
After qualifications, it looked like it would be a tight race in the final, with the two separated by just a couple of tenths after Black had a fall on bars. But Onyshko continued to up her game on bars and beam in finals, with her beam the highlight of the entire met. She hit her difficult layout series, switch to side aerial, tuck full series, front aerial to switch half, and full Y turn with almost no errors, and then nailed her double tuck dismount to cap it off with a 15.1.
That beam score, in addition to a solid DTY, excellent bars performance, and good work on floor, gave Onyshko nearly a two-point lead to win the first national all-around title of her career with a 58.55. She’s come so far this year with all of her upgrades and with a new sense of confidence that has helped her stand out as one of the top gymnasts in the world. Her hard work has truly paid off, and going into Olympic Trials at the end of this month, she’ll be the one to beat.
Black unfortunately had another fall on bars in the event final, but even had she hit, Onyshko still would’ve nabbed the win. Fall aside, the rest of Black’s events were great, and she won the silver all-around with a 56.65. She did a decent job hitting beam, though did have some issues here, like a big check on her punch front pike (which she always manages to expertly save!) and a couple of other wobbles, like on her tuck full and one of her leaps. She still managed a 14.4 for second place, but floor was her standout event, earning a 14.3 to win the title with a hit 2.5 to double tuck, front double full to front tuck, and front full to double pike. Her bars falls shouldn’t have any effect on her making the team, as she’s so good elsewhere, but I’d love for her to hit at trials so she and Onyshko can be more on the same page, pushing each other to be at their very best.
Rose-Kaying Woo, the first-year senior who has struggled a bit this year after dominating as a junior in 2015, ended up surprising to win the bronze with a 55.375 after finishing tenth during qualifications. With rough routines on bars and beam on Wednesday, she came back strong, and though she still wasn’t at her best on floor (reportedly due to a toe injury), she managed to up her performance level on her two best events to earn scores of 14.075 on bars and 14.35 on beam. I don’t know if I’d trust her consistency enough to include her on the Olympic team based on how she competed earlier this year, so she’d really need to keep her game going during trials, where she’d also need to prove that she can be a top-three competitor on bars and beam as well – the two events Canada needs most. Limited by back pain for most of this year, she is reportedly 90% pain-free at the moment, so hopefully as she continues to heal, she’ll be able to bring more to the table and show that she can be a consistent and strong option at trials.
In the same boat is fellow new senior Megan Roberts, who was fifth here with a 54.95, a few tenths shy of the 55.25 she had in qualifications. Like Woo, Roberts is a good all-arounder but might not have enough individual event strengths to make her usable in a team final. She had a good bars routine in finals, with a 14.2 for bronze, but her beam was a bit weak, her DTY landing wasn’t strong, and she fell on floor. With Onyshko and Black obvious choices for beam in the team final, and Onyshko and Brittany Rogers the options for bars, the team really needs a gymnast who has both events as a strength, and that’s not something I’ve really seen from any of their options, so like Woo, Roberts will need to really prove herself at trials.
Shallon Olsen, the third new senior in the mix, was fourth with a 55.025, and at this point, is all but a lock for the team thanks to vault and floor. With a 15.05 on vault for her DTY, she won the gold there and is also hoping to finally unveil the Amanar by trials which could make her a top candidate for the vault final at the Games. She also posted a 14.05 to get silver on floor, and has typically been in the top three here as well, on what is generally a low-scoring event for the Canadians, so even though her bars and beam are quite far behind the rest of her teammates, she really doesn’t need to worry.
Outside the top five, Madison Copiak was sixth with a 54.7, Sabrina Gill was seventh with a 54.475, Maegan Chant was eighth with a 54.05, Kirsten Peterman was ninth with a 53.475, and Victoria-Kayen Woo was tenth with a 53.2. Brittany Rogers, who finished third in the all-around after qualifications, opted to compete only vault and bars in the final. She hit a great DTY for a 14.95 but had a fall on bars, though it seemed like a fluke and shouldn’t affect her much going forward.
If the team is likely to include Onyshko, Black, Rogers, and Olsen, I’d say the best options aside from Rose Woo and Roberts are probably Copiak, Gill, and Victoria Woo, as these three tend to count bars and beam as their strengths. My choice might actually be Copiak, who is generally a pillar of consistency on all four of her events and has really upped her game on bars, winning silver here with a 14.275. She’s hit every single bar routine she’s done in 2016, and while her beam isn’t quite as strong, she’s generally super dependable. She’s not the flashiest of gymnasts, but she gets the job done, and with the Olympic team final on the line, I’d trust her more than anyone.
Victoria Woo has been too hit-or-miss for me this season, with about 66% accuracy on bars and only 40% accuracy on beam, though she always tends to pull it together for worlds, so who knows…maybe that would happen in Rio as well? But I wouldn’t really want to risk it. And while I think I prefer Gill’s bars more than any of the other options here, she’s been injured so often and not given enough time to prove herself, so it could be risky to take her as well.
With Chant, you’d get an excellent vault and great work on beam and floor, but that would still leave a gap open on bars. I think she’s kind of fighting for the same spot I’ve already given to Olsen, and in some ways, she’d be the better option because she could also contribute on beam…but without a vault that scores as well as Olsen’s DTY does, she’s automatically at a disadvantage. And I think Peterman’s difficulty across the board is just too low to realistically consider her a valuable option, though she’s made some tremendous improvements this year and should be proud of how far she’s come!
These eleven – Onyshko, Black, Rogers, Olsen, the Woo sisters, Roberts, Copiak, Gill, Chant, and Peterman – were invited to Canada’s Olympic Trials, which will be held in Gatineau from July 25-29. While I think it’s looking like four locks and one “could be anyone” spot right now, you’ll never know who will show up looking ready to kill it at trials, so their selection process could be an interesting one!
Full results from Canadian Championships are available here.
Article by Lauren Hopkins