Burlington’s Smith wins tumbling bronze at World Games

GYMCANrgbCALI, Colombia — Canadian champion Emily Smith of Burlington, Ont., won the bronze medal in women’s tumbling at the World Games on Tuesday (July 30), giving a boost to the national team veteran aiming for another medal at the world championships this fall in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Smith, who has dominated women’s tumbling in Canada for most of the last decade, scored 62.300 points for her two passes to place third behind runner-up Rachael Letsche of Great Britain with a score of 64.800 and reigning world champion Jia Fangfang of China who romped to gold with 71.000 points.

Smith said she could have added more difficulty to her second pass but decided after training and prelims to go with a slightly easier routine to make sure she maintained her form and stuck her landings.

Emily Smith competed for a place on the Canadian team at the 2013 Canadian Gymnastics Championship in May.

“I look at the World Games as bigger than the world championships,” said Smith, 27, the oldest competitor in the women’s competition. “It’s like the Olympics for non-Olympic sports like tumbling, so I think that winning a medal here shows that I’m still on top of my game.”

“My first pass I had a little bit of a rhythm break and my second pass was smooth and clean with just a little step on the landing.”

Smith, who will now shift her focus on the world championships in November, admitted it will be difficult for any of the top women tumblers in the world to match China’s Fangfang.

“She’s a machine,” said Smith. “She has really high difficulty and never breaks form and is good enough to compete against the men and win a medal.”

In the men’s tumbling final Jon Schwaiger of Burlington, Ont., tied for sixth with 64.700 points.

Luo Zang of China and Viktor Kyforenko of Ukraine tied for gold with 77.30 points and Kristof Willerton of Great Britain took the bronze with a score of 76.300.

Competition continues for the Canadian trampoline and tumbling team on Wednesday with the double mini and women’s synchro events.