In one of Canada’s most-anticipated debuts in a really long time, 15-year-old Ana Padurariu will compete for the first time as a senior at Elite Canada beginning tomorrow in Quebec City.
Padurariu has been dominating as a junior for her entire career, winning the novice all-around titles at Elite Canada and Canadian Championships in 2015 before capturing the junior all-around titles at nationals in both 2016 and 2017, with last year’s performance also including a sweep of the event titles while beating every senior in the field, and she also swept every title at Elite Canada earlier in the year.
In addition to her domestic achievements, Padurariu won 20 international medals in her junior career, 11 of them gold. She swept the Olympic Hopes Cup and won every gold but vault at Pan Am Championships in 2016 before going on to win the beam gold in a stacked field at Jesolo last year, finishing the season with all-around gold at Massilia.
We first profiled Padurariu back in 2015 because we were obsessed with her debut of the inbar piked Tkachev at Gymnix earlier that year, making her the first gymnast in the world to compete the skill. She has since upped her difficulty on all four events, with beam her standout, capable of scores in the mid-14s when she hits.
After going through a growth spurt last year, Padurariu told us she occasionally felt like some of her old skills that once came easily to her required her to relearn them and she worried that it would hold her back in competition, but nonetheless, she got her job done and made her mark time and again, establishing herself as one of the top juniors in the world alongside competitors from legendary programs like Russia, China, and the U.S.
We’re so excited to see what Padurariu will end up doing as a senior, especially as she’ll join three of her country’s 2017 worlds team members at Elite Canada this weekend, including all-around silver medalist Ellie Black, all-around and floor finalist and Longines Prize winner Brooklyn Moors, and vault finalist Shallon Olsen.
These three in addition to Padurariu are expected to continue leading a strong Canadian team as they begin preparations for worlds this year, the first step on the road to qualifying a full team to Tokyo. Generally, we don’t see full-strength routines at Elite Canada, but it’s always a good time for gymnasts to show off upgrades and test the waters before a few early international meets, like the world cups and Jesolo.
We’ll also see 2016 Olympian Rose-Kaying Woo and worlds team member Victoria-Kayen Woo this weekend, as well as Olympic alternate Megan Roberts and international regulars Jade Chrobok, Laurie Denommee, and Sophie Marois at the senior level, while the junior field will include Emma Spence and Zoé Allaire-Bourgie, both of whom competed strongly on the international level last season, and I’m also excited to see first-year juniors Kyra Cato, Rachael Riley, and Sophia King, all of whom were strong novice gymnasts last year.
A full list of competitors is below. Elite Canada begins with the senior all-around on Friday night, followed by the junior and novice all-around competitions on Saturday and then the junior and senior apparatus finals on Sunday. For more information, visit Gymnastics Canada, and check out GymCan.tv for the live stream.
Haley de Jong
Article by Lauren Hopkins
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