Evelyn Koop – a passionate advocate for rhythmic gymnastics

Kalev_Estienne-2015-650x434Kalev Estienne is the oldest rhythmic gymnastics club in Canada, and it’s founder, Evelyn Koop, has promoted and developed this exquisite sport from province to province across the country, and around the world. Evelyn is a former gymnast, Olympic Judge and passionate advocate for rhythmic gymnastics and has seen her athletes successfully compete on the world stage for decades. Evelyn was in fact the crusader behind having the sport accepted at the Olympic level.

Kalev’s top team has just returned from the Four Continents Championships, hosted by Japan. Both junior and senior teams proudly brought back bronze medals. This annual international event was founded in 2014 by Evelyn Koop with the first competition held in Toronto. In 2016 it will be hosted in the USA, followed by Hong Kong and then Australia in 2018.

In a sport historically dominated by Bulgaria and Russia it was next to impossible for other continents, relatively new to the sport, to compete. Evelyn created the Four Continents Championships to give an opportunity for others to be on the podium, while including Bulgaria and Russia for demonstration purposes, in order to acknowledge and celebrate their proficiency. The result is a renewed enthusiasm and competitive spirit developing in North and South America, Asia, Australia and New Zealand, with Bulgaria and Russia joining not to compete, but to showcase their talents. This inclusive international event will become Evelyn Koop’s legacy in the sport that she has dedicated her life to.

Kalev girls compete both provincially and nationally. In 2012 they participated in the Olympic games in London. In 2013 they were at the Youth Olympics in China where they placed 5th in the world. Recently they competed in the Four Continents Championships in Nagano, Japan, and next week they travel to the Faroe Islands, Denmark for the AGG World Championships where all continents compete.

Kalev Estienne is very proud of the contribution it has been able to make to the sport of rhythmic gymnastics both locally and on the world stage. None of this would have been possible without the support of the parents and the community. Evelyn is particularly grateful to the Asian community, and in her 65 years of coaching has admired the self-discipline, loyalty and strong talents of it’s young athletes who play significant roles in all of her top teams.

Shelley Hassard

Posted in RG News