Elite Canada, the first competition of the 2019 elite season, took place in Gatineau, Quebec on Friday with the senior women’s all-around final. Competition saw three members of Canada’s 2018 World Championships team return to the floor.

Ana Padurariu competed in the all-around for the first time in a year, recovering from injury and winning her first senior competition with a 55.591. Two other young gymnasts placed themselves among the best in the country. Zoe Allaire-Bourgie placed third with a 53.541 and Emma Spence, a Youth Olympic Games medalist, place seventh, scoring a 50.933. Veteran Ellie Black started off her season well, placing second with a 54.624 and hinting at possible upgrades to come.

Padurariu began on the balance beam, where she won a silver medal at the 2018 World Championships last year in Doha. Despite a fall on her double pike dismount, the rest of the routine looked beautiful and scored a 13.833 to win the event. Her triple series off a side aerial to two layout stepouts was solid, and she showed impressive flexibility with a switch ring leap and sheep jump. Padurariu competed a floor routine for the first time in a year, performing a slightly watered-down routine with clean execution and engaging artistry to score a 13.133, placing second on floor.

Ana Padurariu performs on the floor exercise at Elite Canada in Gatineau, Canada/Gymnastics Canada

As Padurariu is coming back from injury, she competed just a Yurchenko full on vault for a 13.900. She then ended on her strongest event, the uneven bars, winning the event with a huge 14.725. Her clean lines, difficult releases, and tricky connections puts her among the best in the world on this event, an apparatus still with huge potential to grow for the 16 year-old.

Starting on the vault, Black jumped into the lead and scored a 14.700 for a powerful front handspring full. She also competed a Tsuk one-and-a-half, which scored a 14.200 and helped her to a first place finish on vault. Both vaults could be upgraded later in the year, giving Black a chance for an event medal at the World Championships. On the uneven bars, she overshot her Shang release and fell but stuck her dismount for a 13.225. With big releases and precise handstands, Black has found a routine that works well for her, even if bars isn’t her strongest event.

Moving to the balance beam, Black hit her routine for a 13.433, placing third. Despite balance checks, she fought for every skill and looked much steadier in the second half of her routine. Ending on the floor exercise, Black debuted a new tumbling pass and performed a clean routine, winning the event with a 13.266. She is capable of competing more difficult passes, which we will most likely see later in the season.

Ellie Black competes on vault at Elite Canada in Gatineau, Canada/Gymnastics Canada

Allaire-Bourgie began her competition on the uneven bars as a junior in the senior field. With intricate connections and attention to detail, Allaire-Bourgie scored a 14.075, placing second on the event and making a big first impression. Moving to the balance beam, she kept her nerves in check, with just a few wobbles but overall showing difficult skills and strong execution. Allaire-Bourgie scored a 13.733 on beam for second place, just a tenth lower than Padurariu. On the floor exercise, Allaire-Bourgie tied for third with a 12.733 and finished her competition with a 13.000 on vault. Though lower start values on vault and floor limit her scoring potential, she will be a top all-arounder for Canada going into 2020 if she continues to compete at this level.

In fourth place was Victoria Kayen-Woo with a 52.249, where an unfortunate fall on beam kept her out of the medals. Strong performances on floor and vault, where she scored a 12.733 and 14.000 respectively, kept Woo in the top five and in the hunt for international assignments in 2019. Jade Chrobok placed fifth with a 52.116. A consistent all-arounder, Chrobok performed solidly on all four events and could be in the running for an international team spot.

Jessica Dowling placed sixth with a 51.758, hitting all four routines and placing third on the uneven bars with a 13.675. Spence placed seventh with a 50.933, placing in the top eight on vault and floor. Isabela Onyshko rounded out the top eight with a 50.733, fighting past a fall on bars and looking steady on her other events. After a rough 2018, Onyshko looks primed to improve and continue to be a top contender for Canada in 2019.

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