Brooklyn Moors, Ellie Black, Shallon Olsen, and Ava Stewart
Gymnastics Canada and the Canadian Olympic Committee announced Canada’s artistic women’s gymnastics team set to compete at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo this summer, where 2017 world all-around medalist Ellie Black will headline her third Olympic team, joining 2016 teammate and 2018 world vault medalist Shallon Olsen, three-time world floor finalist and 2019 Pan Am Games floor champion Brooklyn Moors, and newcomer Ava Stewart, a first-year senior and the 2021 national bars champion.
Black, Olsen, and Moors have been the core of Team Canada throughout the 2020 quad, competing together at every world championships since 2017, and earning Canada’s best team finish at a world championships in 2018. That core team also included 2018 world beam silver medalist Ana Padurariu, but injuries over the past year have sidelined Padurariu, who recently announced that she has ended her elite career in order to focus on collegiate competition, as she heads to UCLA this fall.
Though not having Padurariu’s talents, especially on bars and beam, is a huge loss to the Canadian program, Stewart is so similar in both her strengths and how she scores, and will step in seamlessly to this team to take Padurariu’s place. Only 15, Stewart didn’t compete elite until just last year, making her debut at the 2020 Elite Canada competition, where she won bronze in the all-around competition as a junior, and competing only once more, at Gymnix, before the season was shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Stewart reemerged as a senior this February, winning silver in the all-around at Elite Canada behind Black, and then going on to finish behind Black at two technical trial meets in April and May, and then also at national championships, where she also won gold on bars and silver on beam. All of these meets were held virtually, however, so Stewart will not only go to Tokyo having never competed elite outside of Canada before, but also having never competed at the senior level outside of her own gym.
It’s a ton of pressure for anyone, but luckily, Stewart will be surrounded by three of Canada’s most experienced and talented gymnasts ever with Black, Olsen, and Moors on her side, which will hopefully help her out as she debuts at the Games. This group has tremendous potential to make it to the team final after missing out in 2016, and there will be several opportunities for individual finals, including Black going for the all-around and beam, Olsen for vault, Moors for the all-around and floor, and Stewart for the all-around, bars, and beam.
In addition to the four on the team, Rose-Kaying Woo will serve as the traveling alternate who will accompany the team in Japan, while Laurie Denommée, Emma Spence, and Victoria-Kayen Woo were named non-traveling alternates.
The Canadian men didn’t qualify a full team to the Olympics this year, but René Cournoyer earned a spot as an individual, and will compete all six events in Tokyo.
Article by Lauren Hopkins