That's gym dandy

CAMERON MAXWELL -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 7:28 AM ET

With the partisan crowd at the Rod Laver Arena firmly supporting the Australians, Canada's men's gymnastics team stole the thunder Down Under.

The Canucks walked out of the team event on Day 1 of the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Australia, yesterday with the gold medal, beating the Aussies by less than a point.

Team Canada, which included Calgary's Kyle Shewfelt, Grant Golding, Nathan Gafuik, Adam Wong and Halifax's David Kikuchi, finished with 269.5 points, while Australia had 268.85.

Shewfelt, who was competing in his first major competition since the 2004 Olympics where he won a gold on the floor, said he and his teammates weren't put off by the rabid fans.

"They announced all the different teams competing and Australia was last, then the crowd just went wild," he said.

"We knew the crowd was going to be on the Aussies' side but we had a gameplan heading in to just go out there, be relaxed, have fun and just hit our routines. There was absolutely no way we would have been disappointed if we'd done that and come second."

Canada finished first on all the apparatus except the pommel horse and rings, where they were second. England, the defending gold medallist, finished third with 260 points.

"We supported each other the whole way and, as the competition went on, we knew we were going to win," Shewfelt said.

The Canadians last won team gold at the 1994 Games in Victoria and heading in, Shewfelt said the main goal was to win it all this year after taking silver in 2002.

"We accomplished our major goal for the games, so now the first mission's accomplished," Shewfelt said.

With the team event out of the way, the Canadians will now focus on the individual events.

Shewfelt is the defending Commonwealth Games champion on floor and vault.

And, showing no signs of rust from not competing since 2004, Shewfelt qualified for three event finals by finishing first on floor and vault and second on high bar. He'll return to competition Monday for the floor event then move on to vault and high bar Tuesday.

Wong and Gafuik, the only Canadians to compete in all six events, also came through with flying colours, placing second and third, respectively, overall behind Australia's Joshua Jefferis and advance to tomorrow's individual all around final.

"I've competed at a lot of high level meets but nothing so far like the atmosphere at a big Games like this," said Gafuik in a statement.

"I absolutely loved the atmosphere. It was very exciting."


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