Lytwyn, Canadian teammates seek 2012 Olympic gymnastic berths

Canadian competitors are set to battle for Olympic berths this week at a last chance qualification meet in men’s and women’s gymnastics and trampoline.

Up for grabs are the last four full-team berths in both men’s and women’s gymnastics and final selections in men’s trampoline.

In the gymnastics qualification, the Canadian men take to the floor on Tuesday and the women on Wednesday (Jan. 10-11) needing to finish top four in their respective competitions.

The top eight nations at the recent world championships in Tokyo qualified directly for the 2012 Games while teams ranked 9th to 16th advanced to the London qualification meet.

The Canadian women ranked 11th in Tokyo and the men were 12th.

Members of the men’s team are: Kevin Lytwyn of Stoney Creek, Nathan Gafuik of Calgary, Brandon O’Neill and Jackson Payne, both of Edmonton, Ken Ikeda of Abbotsford, B.C., Casey Sandy of Brampton, Ont., and reserve Jayd Lukenchuk of Saskatoon.

“The guys have looked really good in training and they are ready to go,” says Canadian men’s program director Jeff Thomson of Vancouver.

Other men’s teams in the running are Great Britain, France, Puerto Rico, Belarus, Spain, Italy, and Brazil.

Members of the women’s team are: Madeline Gardiner, Victoria Moors of Cambridge, Ont., Brittany Rogers of Vancouver, Kristina Vaculik of Whitby, Ont., Peng Peng Lee of Toronto and Talia Chiarelli, a former Ottawa resident now living in Boston and reserve Mikaela Gerber of Cambridge, Ont.

Rogers, who has battled back from a career threatening ankle injury, and Moors, the 2011 Canadian junior champion, are new additions to the team since the world championships in October.

“I have a very good feeling that we are going to do very well and make the top four in London,” says Lee, who turned heads at the worlds with her innovative routine on beam.

Other women’s teams vying for an Olympic berth are Belgium, France, Italy, Korea, the Netherlands, Spain and Brazil.

In trampoline Canada has already secured two spots in the women’s Olympic competition but needs a top-eight performance from either Jason Burnett of Toronto or Keegan Soehn of Red Deer, Alta., on Friday to win a berth on the men’s side.

Burnett, the 2008 Olympic silver medallist, just missed earning a spot for Canada at the world championships in November but has since fully recovered from an injured foot that held him back and is expected to qualify this time around.

Karen Cockburn and Rosannagh MacLennan, both of Toronto, clinched two Olympic berths for Canada by finishing in the top eight at the world championships