U.S. Junior Rhythmic Group wins three medals at 2014 Pac Rim Championships
posted on 04/10/2014

RICHMOND, B.C., Canada, April 10, 2014 – The U.S. Junior Rhythmic Gymnastics Group won the silver all-around and 10 clubs medals, along with the five hoop bronze, at the 2014 Pacific Rim Gymnastics Championships at the Richmond (B.C., Canada) Olympic Oval. Competition continues later today with the men’s team and all-around finals and the first day of the individual rhythmic gymnastics competition. Fans can follow all of the action via a live webstream available through usagym.org.

The members of the U.S. Junior Group are: Yelyzaveta Merenzon of Buffalo Grove, Ill./North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center; Elina Nikerina of Deerfield, Ill./North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center; Sophia Popova of Minneapolis, Minn./Twin Cities Rhythmic; Emily Rakhnyansky of Brooklyn, N.Y./MatchPoint; Nicole Sladkov of Vernon Hills, Ill./M & N Rhythmic Academy; and Nicky Wojtana of Plano, Texas/Texas Rhythmic Academy.

“The satisfaction (in getting three medals) was great, and it also was good to be out there with my team,” said Rakhnyansky. “It felt like all of our hard work in practice really paid off at the end (when we were) standing on the podium and smiling. Practice is really difficult but when you do well at a competition, it feels great to stand on the podium.”

Popova said, “(Getting the medals) feels really good. We always have room for improvement, and we are really excited and motivated for the Junior Pan Am Championships next month.”

In the all-around competition, the USA captured the silver with a two-event total of 25.100. China won with 26.700, and Singapore slipped by Canada for third with 24.100 points.

China won the gold for both five hoops (12.900) and 10 clubs (13.800). For five hoops, Singapore was second at 12.050, followed by the USA at 12.000. The USA was second in 10 clubs by earning a 13.100 for its routine, and third went to Canada at 12.700.

The remaining competition schedule is listed below, and each of these sessions will have a live webstream, provided by ViaSport Productions in partnership with Gymnastics BC and Gymnastics Canada, that has a separate feed for each apparatus. ViaSport also plans to archive each participant’s routines. The legend for the abbreviations used below is: WAG=women’s artistic gymnastics; MAG=men’s artistic gymnastics; RG-rhythmic gymnastics; TG=trampoline. The USA is competing in women’s gymnastics, men’s gymnastics and rhythmic gymnastics.

Thursday, April 10

  • 1:30-4 p.m. - MAG: Group 1 team & all-around
  • 1:30.-4:30 p.m. - RG: team and AA, ball & hoop, subdivision 1
  • 5:30.-8 p.m. - MAG: Group 2 team, all-around & awards (includes USA)
  • 5:30-8:30 p.m. - RG: team and AA, ball & hoop, subdivision 2 (includes USA)

Friday, April 11

  • 9 a.m.-12 p.m. - RG: team and AA, ribbon & club, subdivision 1
  • 1-4:15 p.m. - RG: team and AA, ribbon & club, subdivision 2 (includes USA)
  • 6-9 p.m. - TG: Individual & team, team awards
  • 6-9:30 p.m. - MAG & WAG: Junior event finals & awards

Saturday, April 12

  • 9 a.m.-1 p.m. - RG: junior and senior event finals & awards
  • 2:30 p.m.-6 p.m. - MAG & WAG: senior event finals & awards; TG: finals & awards

2014 Winter Cup all-around champion Chris Brooks of Houston/Team Hilton HHonors (Cypress Gymnastics), 2012 Olympic alternate Alex Naddour of Gilbert, Ariz./Team Hilton Honors (USA Youth Fitness Center), and 2013 World parallel bars bronze medalist John Orozco of the Bronx, N.Y./Team Hilton HHonors (U.S. Olympic Training Center), are the seniors on the team. Juniors Davis Grooms of Katy, Texas/Champions Gymnastics, Marty Strech of Fountain Valley, Calif./Azarian U.S. Gymnastics Training Center, and Alec Yoder of Indianapolis, Ind./InterActive Academy, recently won the team title at the recent Pan American Championships, where Strech won the all-around, Yoder earned three event titles (pommel horse, still rings and parallel bars), and Grooms claimed two event medals.

For men’s and women’s gymnastics, each has a six-person team that is a combination of junior and senior level gymnasts. The team competition and all-around are held in the first session. The team competition is 6-5-4, which means all six may compete on each apparatus, with five designated on each event to compete for the team score and the four best scores of the five are used. The top eight for each apparatus, with two per country, will advance to the event finals. There is one team competition, but junior and senior awards for the all-around and event finals.

Rhythmic gymnastics also features a team competition, as well as a junior and senior all-around and event finals. The U.S. team features: seniors – U.S. all-around bronze medalist Cindy Lu of Staten Island, N.Y./Isadora, Rhythmic Challenge all-around silver medalist Aliya Protto of Culver City, Calif./California Rhythms, and U.S. ball bronze medalist Valeriya Sharipova of Livingston, N.J./Independent; and juniors – U.S. junior ribbon champion Brigita Budginas of Agoura Hills, Calif./Platinum Gymnastics Academy, U.S. junior clubs champion Nastasya Generalova of Los Angeles, Calif./California Rhythms, and 2014 Rhythmic Challenge ribbon silver medalist Ekatherina Kapitonova of Staten Island, N.Y./Isadora.

In addition to the United States, the countries participating are: Australia, Canada, China, Chinese Taipei, Colombia, Costa Rica, Hong Kong, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Panama, Peru, Philippines and Singapore.

Tickets are still available for the championships with some sessions sold-out or with limited availability. All tickets can be purchased on line at www.pacificrimchamps.eventbrite.com.

The 2014 Pacific Rim Championships are hosted by Gymnastics Canada and Gymnastics BC. The Pacific Rim Championships (known as the Pacific Alliance Championship until 2008) were last held in Canada in 2002 in Burnaby. Recent hosts include Honolulu in 2004 and 2006; San Jose, Calif., in 2008; Melbourne, Australia, in 2010; and Everett, Wash., in 2012. At the past four summer Olympics, Pacific Rim countries have combined for a total of 101 gymnastics Olympic medals including 37 gold. For more detailed information, go to www.pacificrimchamps.com.

The webstream is provided by ViaSport Productions. ViaSport Productions is the catalyst behind increasing the exposure, recognition and power of amateur-level sport across British Columbia. As the broadcast arm of ViaSport, the organization responsible for the growth and development of BC's amateur sport sector, the goal driving ViaSport Productions is to bring a range of online sport programming – live-streamed event coverage, interviews, commentary and more – into every home across the province. Share your event with the world: apply to have your event live-streamed by ViaSport Productions. Visit www.viasport.ca/viasport-productions to learn more.