| Ana Padurariu, Jade Chrobok - winning an unprecedented nine out of 10 medals.|
OSHAWA — Gemini Gymnastics athletes stole the show at the Elite Canada competition held in Halifax, winning an unprecedented nine out of 10 medals.
Whitby’s Ana Padurariu, 14, and Toronto’s Jade Chrobok, 15, were each crowned Elite Canada champion in their respective categories.
Elite Canada is a national competition that identifies athletes to be selected to the national team and compete at international competitions for Team Canada.
Padurariu absolutely dominated the competition in the junior category with results that would have placed her on the podium in the senior category as well.
On the first day of competition, in the all-around category, Padurariu effortlessly competed a very difficult bar routine while introducing an upgraded and new mount on beam that caused quite the buzz at the meet and in the gymnastic world.
“We’re always working on increasing the difficulty level on any event,” said Gemini coach Elena Davydova, in a press release. “On beam, there was an opportunity to upgrade the mount. We had two different ones prepared, but I thought this one was more original and cooler.”
Padurariu also debuted a floor routine with new music and choreography that seemed to reflect her bubbly personality. She and her coaches upgraded the difficulty level on floor as well as on vault, and the effort translated into gold.
Padurariu placed first in every single event and won gold in the all-around division by a large margin, and qualified for event finals on all four apparatus on the next day.
Padurariu’s second day of competition was as successful as the first. She fully eclipsed the competition during event finals by posting scores well beyond those of her competitors and winning gold on every apparatus. Her scores would have allowed her to capture gold on most events in the senior division as well.
Padurariu indicated that her successes in Bolivia and the Czech Republic in the fall, where she won the all around title at both international meets, was key.
“I gained a lot of confidence at the Junior Pan Am Games in Bolivia and the Olympic Hopes Cup in Czechoslovakia,” she said.
Chrobok competed for the first time in the senior division and did not disappoint.
On the first day of the all-around competition, Chrobok demonstrated steady nerves. As she has had to contend with injuries over the last year, she did not showcase her large arsenal of skills and had to downgrade many of her events. This gave her a lower difficulty score than she otherwise might have had.
Despite this, Chrobok’s consistent and clean routines shined and she captured the all-around gold medal, becoming the Elite champion while competing against seasoned senior athletes.
Chrobok qualified for three out of the four event finals, missing vault finals as she chose not to compete two vaults so early in the season.
During event finals, Chrobok continued her successful meet by competing a solid bar routine that she had downgraded and capturing the silver. On beam, she had a near fall which she fought off, and ultimately won silver, missing out on the gold by only 0.025.
Chrobok’s floor was solid and entertaining. Her renowned first tumbling pass and crowd favourite, whip-back, whip-back, double back was performed beautifully and she ultimately shared the gold with second-year senior, Megan Roberts.
All told, Chrobok won four of five possible medals, two gold and two silver.
The next step for both Padurariu and Chrobok are two international meets that generally draw the cream of crop in the gymnastic world, Gymnix in Montreal and Jesolo in Italy.
Padurariu’s star is certainly shining very bright, as the athlete has been the talk of the international gymnastic world for the last year and a half. She was just named the Junior Athlete of the Year by Gymnastics Canada while her coaches, Davydova and Valery Yahchybekov were once again named the Women’s Artistic Gymnastics Junior Coaches of the Year.