February 19, 2015
The men’s gymnastics all-around was a thrilling competition with spectacular routines, stuck landings, unexpected spills and a showcase of new talent.
Ontario’s Justin Karstadt performed solidly on all 6 events to take the all around gold, almost a full point ahead of 12 year old Felix Dolci of Quebec. Dolci showed an incredible rings routine, but faltered on high bar, taking him out of the top spot.
Matthew Halickman, also of Quebec looked strong in each event and performed brilliantly on high bar to take third place. His post meet celebration had the entire gym cheering.
Sam Zakutney of Ontario led preliminaries but faltered on pommel horse dropping him down the rankings. He came back incredibly strong on parallel bars to rank first in that event, and managed to finish in 7th.
Even more the results, what stood out in this men’s competition was the enthusiasm and comradery. With the female gymnasts and other athletes in the stands cheering on their teams the mood was thrilling. It’s apparent that despite being rivals, many of the competitors are good friends. Cross-province celebrations could be seen everwhere. Gymnastics can be a small community, and rivalries are friendly, and help push everyone to be better.
Fourth-place finisher Aaron Mah of BC put it best post-competition “At the end of the day we’re all on the same team and I think it’s just a better atmosphere for everybody”
No one knows how hard gymnasts work more than other gymnasts. There is a mutual respect here, and also a hope to be on team Canada together in the future.
Remember these names, and this competition. In Rio 2016 or Tokyo 2020 we may see some familiar faces.