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Kristina Vaculik among gymnasts to compete for Canada at London Games

06/29/2012 04:49 EDT | Updated 08/29/2012 05:12 EDT
OTTAWA - Gymnast Kristina Vaculik has enjoyed plenty of success on home soil and now the three-time all-around national champion is hoping she travels just as well.

Vaculik, a 19-year old native of Whitby, Ont., was formally introduced Friday as one of five women who will make up the Canadian team that qualified for next month's Summer Olympics in London.

She'll be joined by Victoria Moss of Cambridge, Ont., Brittany Rogers of Coquitlam, B.C., Dominique Pegg of Sarnia, Ont., and Ellie Black of Halifax when the Games get underway on July 27.

Jessica Savona of Oakville, Ont., is the first reserve and Madeline Gardiner, also of Cambridge, is the second reserve.

"This entire year I had the Olympics in mind and what I wanted to be doing there in the hopes that I would be there eventually. I'm looking forward to it," Vaculik said after she and her teammates received their Olympic jackets during a ceremony at the National Gallery of Canada in the shadows of Parliament Hill.

Selections for the team were based mostly on results from the Canadian championships held in May in Regina and a two-day selection camp that wrapped up Thursday across the river from Ottawa in Gatineau, Que.

Vaculik, on a year-long hiatus from her studies at Stanford University, finished atop the 11 finalists vying for a ticket to London.

She missed out on competing at the 2008 Games in Beijing when she finished third in the selection process for just two spots.

In Regina, Vaculik added to her 2007 and 2010 national all around titles after finishing first in uneven bars, first in balance beam, second on floor and fourth in vault.

"I'll approach (London) the same way as I've been approaching this entire year," she said. "We have goals going in. We want to make team finals. We're looking towards top 10, top eight even, that's what we're striving for. Personally, I'd like to make all-around finals."

It's been a long road for Rogers, 19, but one well worth the wait. Two years ago she suffered a broken right ankle that required surgery and led to her missing the better part of a year. She was able to return in time for the 2011 Canadian championships where, with little time to prepare, she placed a surprise fourth all around.

Later that year she won silver in vault at the Artistic Gymnastics World Cup and at this year's event in Cottbus, Germany, she won gold in vault and bronze in balance beam.

"It's all coming so fast, I'm so thankful to be here and I'm so happy that it has turned out this way," Rogers said. "I didn't think we were going to be announced right after we finished our selection competition (Thursday), so that was a big surprise. I just wanted to kind of drop right then and there. It's a dream come true."

Canada's lone representative in London on the men's side is Nathan Gafuik of Calgary, who was a reserve in 2004 and competed in Beijing in 2008. Gafuik was home training and did not attend Friday's announcement.

The rhythmic gymnastics team was also formally introduced. It's made up of Katrina Cameron, Rosie Cossar, Alexandra Landry, Anastasiya Muntyanu, Anjelika Reznik and Kelsey Titmarsh, all Toronto natives.

Three more Toronto natives make up the trampoline gymnastics team: Karen Cockburn, Rosie MacLennan and Jason Burnett.

In artistic gymnastics, it's the first full women's team to qualify since Athens in 2004, when Canada didn't advance out of qualifying.

"Our primary objective is to qualify for as many finals as possible," Gymnastics Canada president and chief executive Jean-Paul Caron said. "Once you're in the finals, then anything can happen."

The team will depart in mid-July for London and take part in a training camp in nearby Basildon. The women's artistic gymnastics competition gets underway July 29.

"Anything can happen, people get hurt … but we're just aiming to represent Canada (well) and place top 10 possibly," Rogers said. "We have such a strong team and I know we're capable of so much."

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