U.S. star Kara Eaker won three gold medals as American teams dominated the International Gymnix Tournament this past weekend in Montreal.
Long known as a meet that hosts greats before their star turns on the world or Olympic stage, the highly anticipated Gymnix welcomed teams from five countries for its senior team cup and seven for Saturday’s junior team cup.
Eaker and U.S. teammates Alyona Shchennkiova, Sloane Blakely and Aleah Finnegan easily won the senior team competition, topping a Canadian team consisting of 2016 Olympian Isabela Onyshko, 2018 Youth Olympian Emma Spence, World team alternate Laurie Denommee and standout Haley de Jong by a ten point margin. A poised and promising Australian team (2014 World team member Emma Nedov, 2018 Youth Olympian Kate Sayer, Elena Chipizubov and Romi Brown) took bronze.
Eaker, a beam finalist at last fall’s World Championships in Doha, began the day by sticking her Yurchenko 1.5 vault and nailed her impressive set (side aerial, layout, layout, roundoff, back handspring, 2.5 twist dismount) for a meet-high 14.666 to move into first in the all-around after three events. She held onto it even after a fall on her double pike final tumbling pass on floor to edge Shchennikova, who opened the meet with a terrific double-twisting Yurchenko vault and carried the top score of the day on bars, by a mere tenth of a point, 55.298-55.198. She won the beam title during Sunday’s event finals as well, her third gold of the meet.
Tiny Azuki Kokofugata of Japan, one of several new faces the Japanese are sending to competitions around the world this year, impressed in her senior international debut, throwing a triple full beam dismount and turning in the best score of the day on floor exercise (13.8) for third overall, then added gold on floor in event finals. The U.S.’s Sloane Blakely finished with the third highest all-around score, but was bumped due to the two-per-country rule.
Fresh from winning last month’s Elite Canada, world beam silver medalist Ana Padurariu had a rough outing in the team/all-around competition, recording multiple falls on balance beam and coming off the uneven bars, but the 16-year-old came back to win bars in event finals.
Canada’s Zoe Allaire-Bourgie, already considered an Olympic team contender although she does not become a senior until next year, won the junior all-around competition ahead of Americans Olivia Greaves and Skye Blakely. Magnificent on uneven bars (Wyler to Maloney, Pak, toe Khorkina II, pike Jaeger, full-twisting double tuck) and balance beam (bhs, layout, layout series), Allaire-Bourgie added three medals in event finals, taking gold on floor and silvers on bars and beam.
“I’m truly proud of my performance!” Allaire-Bourgie, who competes for Club Gymnix, exclaimed. “I took things one step at a time, and everything went well. I couldn’t ask for more.”
U.S. junior Skye Blakely, the only junior in the competition to show a double-twisting Yurchenko vault, won that event as well as uneven bars. The entertaining Noemie Louon of Belgium won balance beam and took bronzes on bars and floor.
The U.S. team of Blakely, Greaves, Lilly Lippeatt and Kaylen Morgan won the junior team title by five points over the Belgians (Louon, Stacy Bertrandt, Charlotte Beydts and Jutta Verkest), while Bourgie, along with Clara Raposo, Rebeka Groulx and Rachael Riley, powered Canada to bronze.
UCLA commit Emily Lee was the top all-arounder in the Gymnix Challenge All-around, a separate all-around competition, tallying 51.35 ahead of Canadian standouts Laurie-Lou Vezina (51.166) and 2015 Canadian world team member Audrey Rousseau (51.049).
Gymnix Senior Team Final
1 - USA, 165.261
2 - Canada 2, 155.296
3 - Australia, 154.963
Gymnix Senior All-around Final
1 - Kara Eaker, USA, 55.288
2 - Alyona Shchennikova, USA, 55.198
3 - Azuki Kokofugata, JPN, 52.4
Gymnix Senior Vault Final
1 - Aleah Finnegan, USA, 14.0
2 - Haley de Jong, CAN, 13.467
Gymnix Senior Bars Final
1 - Ana Padurariu, CAN, 14.466
2 - Alyona Shchennikova, USA, 14.4
3 - Emma Nedov, AUS, 13.33
Gymnix Senior Beam Final
1 - Kara Eaker, USA, 14.466
2 - Sloane Blakely, USA, 13.766
3 - Elena Chipizubov, AUS, 13.2
Gymnix Senior Floor Final
1 - Azuki Kokofugata, JPN, 13.5
2 - Haley de Jong, CAN, 12.9
3 - Alyona Shchennikova, USA, 12.766
Gymnix Junior Team Final
1 - USA, 159.463
2 - Belgium, 154.530
3 - Canada, 154.463
Gymnix Junior All-around Final
1 - Zoe Allaire-Bourgie, CAN, 54.532
2 - Olivia Greaves, USA, 53.666
3 - Skye Blakely, USA, 53.332
Gymnix Junior Vault Final
1 - Skye Blakely, USA, 14.083
2 - Olivia Greaves, USA, 13.383
3 - Rachael Riley, CAN, 13.433
Gymnix Junior Uneven Bars Final
1 - Skye Blakely, USA, 14.133
2 - Zoe Allaire-Bourgie, CAN, 14.066
3 - Noemie Louon, BEL, 13.466
Gymnix Junior Beam Final
1 - Noemie Louon, BEL, 13.2
2 - Zoe Allaire-Bourgie, CAN, 13.1
3 - Lilly Lippeatt, USA, 13.066
Gymnix Junior Floor Final
1 - Zoe Allaire-Bourgie, CAN, 13.233
2 - Olivia Greaves, USA, 13.133
3 - Noemie Louon, BEL, 12.966