Shewfelt leads talented squad

CAMERON MAXWELL -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 12:30 PM ET

Looks like the Stampede City has become Canada's hub for men's gymnastics.

The Canadian Commonwealth Games team was announced yesterday following two days of trials and four of the five tumblers are from Calgary, including Olympic gold-medallist Kyle Shewfelt and Grant Golding, who won the trials with an all-round total of 177.40 points.

Nathan Gafuik, Adam Wong and David Kikuchi of Halifax round out the five-man squad, which will compete at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Australia, March 15-26.

At the 2002 Games, the Canadians earned a silver medal in the team event but Golding figures stepping onto the top of the podium in Melbourne is going to be a tough task.

"We're going into Australia, so right then and there they've got home-field advantage," said Golding, 24, a member of Canada's 2004 Olympic team and the 2004 Canadian all-round champion.

"And whenever that happens, it's huge. Last time England had home field and won. In 1994, we were in Canada and won."

Golding, who along with Shewfelt, trains at the U of C under Tony Smith, is relieved the trials are over.

"At this moment, I'm just coming down from this competition and I'll have to get myself back up again for Commonwealth Games," said Golding.

"For the most part, it was trying to compete with everybody here and everybody's trying to do their best, so it was pretty intense."

And Gymnastics Canada brass is thrilled to be taking such a talented squad to Australia.

"We're really excited about the team we're going to bring to Melbourne," said Jeff Thomson, men's high-performance director for Gymnastics Canada.

"The guys didn't miss anything. There's a lot of experience and the younger guys like Nathan and Adam showed once again they belonged to compete alongside the very best."

Shewfelt, who didn't fare as well in the all-round at trials, made the team with his dynamite vault and floor skills.

He finished fourth on vault at the 2004 Olympics after a judging controversy cost him the bronze medal.


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