As we all know, Canadian gymnast, Victoria Moors has recently retired. Personally, it did not come as a shock. Victoria’s recent venture into the world of make-up blogging proved that Gymnastics is not the epicentre of the 18 year old gymnast’s life. And as history and ‘Make it or Break it’ has proven, once Gymnastics is not the sole focus of a gymnast’s life, their Gymnastics career will soon cease to exist.
Although It may seem that I am damning Victoria for retiring, that is not the case. Am I disappointed? Absolutely. However as a result of Victoria’s recent retirement, this aptly Canadian themed blog will serve to celebrate the talented gymnast’s career and recognise her contribution to the sport of Gymnastics and more importantly, to Canadian Gymnastics.
As a 16 year old girl is when I, along with the rest of the world was introduced to the talented Ms.Moors. Her performance at the 2012 American Cup sparked interest. Here, Moors placed 4th AA, behind Olympic AA contenders Jordyn Wieber and Aly Raisman of the USA and rising star Larisa Iordache of Romania. Her performance along with the Canadian teams performance at the 2012 Pacific Rim Championships in Seattle, Washington continued to create a buzz around the young Ms.Moors and the Canadian team, who placed 3rd in the team competition, with impressive performances from Moors, and Ms.Peng Peng Lee on Balance Beam. Who could forget those flares!? Moors continued to impress at a World Cup event in April, held in Zibo, China, proving her Floor Exercise prowess by placing second in the Floor Exercise final. All that was left to do in 2012 was to be selected as one of the members of the Canadian Olympic team, having qualified a full Canadian team to the Olympics for the first time ever six months previously. Victoria, of course succeeded in being selected to compete at the 2012 Olympics in London along with Brittany Rogers, Dominique Pegg, Ellie Black and Kristina Vaculik.
Already this team had become pioneers by simply qualifying a full team to the Olympic Games. However it was their performance in the team final that cemented Victoria and the rest of the Canadian team into Canadian Gymnastics history. With impressive performances from all five Gymnasts, the first ever full team to qualify to the Olympics from Canada managed to place 5th in the team final, only behind Gymnastics so called “Big Four” (USA, Russia, Romania and China). This historic top five placement naturally induced tears of pure joy from every gymnast, coach and member of the Canadian entourage and led me to think could there be room for a “Big Five” in Gymnastics or could Canada knock one of the Gymnastics powerhouses from their pedestal!? The USA perhaps?
Certainly, given the similar cultures of Canada and the USA, the thought is valid. Romania, China and Russia have training programs that could most definitely not be duplicated in a country like Canada. However the USA’s program would suit Canadian culture perfectly. While this conclusion may seem like a wild one, it has been said by Canadian coaches that their aspirations are high for the future of Canadian Gymnastics and would like very much to duplicate the system that USA have in place and ultimately duplicate USA’S meteoric rise to the top of the Gymnastics world after the implementation of training camps and appointment of Martha Karolyi as National Team Co-ordinator.
Of course, previous to the implementation of this system, the USA had a groundbreaking moment at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, when Mary Lou Retton became Olympic AA Champion and the team earned the silver medal in the team competition. From then on, USA Gymnastics ebbed and flowed and peaked in 1996, winning the team gold medal at the Olympics for the very first time. After this, the notorious camps at the Karolyi Ranch became the staple of USA Gymnastics, along with the notorious Martha Karolyi.
Mary Lou Retton’s golden moment, Kim Zmeskal’s 1991 World AA title and the Magnificent Seven’s golden moment in Atlanta all helped propel the sport of gymnastics in the US and inspired many young gymnasts, including 2012 Olympic champion Aly Raisman. The implementation of USA’s current system also helped in creating the unbeatable force of USA Gymnastics and making gymnastics one of the most popular sports in the country.
So, who’s to say this couldn’t happen in Canada? By qualifying to the Olympics in 2012, and placing 5th, Moors, Rogers, Pegg, Black, Vaculik and of course, honorary team captain Peng Peng Lee made a pioneering move for Canadian gymnastics, a moment that those gymnasts will cherish forever. A moment that will be looked at as the start of something big for Canadian gymnastics perhaps?
Obviously Canadian gymnastics needs to continue to grow and win internationally. However I do believe that if Canadian Gymnastics implements a system like USA and wins a team medal at an Olympic Games and have a standout individual, the future will be bright for Canadian Gymnastics. It will take hard work but it is possible, there could be a “Big Five” in Gymnastics.