Victoria Moors and Madeline Gardiner have grown up together in gymnastics, growing as close as sisters over countless workouts, sore muscles and long rides to meets. Next month, they'll get to take the trip of their lifetime together, too - to the 2012 Summer Olympics.
Moors, the 15-year-old phenomenon in gymnastics’ floors events, qualified for the five-person Olympic team this week after a final selection camp in Quebec. Gardiner, her 17-year-old club teammate at Dynamo Gymnastics in Hespeler, was chosen as one of two alternates.
“I’m just overjoyed. I’m so excited to be a part of this right now,” said Moors, a Cambridge-raised student at Bishop Macdonnel high school in Guelph. “I didn’t think the feeling would be this strong. But we’re taking pictures with the Canada uniform on, and it feels amazing.”
The Olympic team was formally introduced at a press conference in Ottawa Friday afternoon.
Although she’s a reserve member, Gardiner will have to train as if she’s competing, ready to fill in for an injured teammate at a moment’s notice. She’ll join Moors and the others at a training camp outside London before the Games and will prepare as if she’s competing.
The Galt Collegiate Institute student won’t stay with the team in the Athletes’ Village in London, and she’ll have to watch the performances from the stands. But she’ll be standing by if needed.
“In a way it’s really cool to be chosen, but at the same time, I want to be out there, competing,” Gardiner said. “But I’m really excited. It’s a huge honour.”
The four other gymnasts chosen for the Canadian Olympic team are Kristina Vaculik of Whitby, Brittany Rogers of Coquitlam, B.C., Dominique Pegg of Sarnia, and Ellie Black of Halifax.
In London, Canada will be in a pool with Great Britain, France and the U.S. Their competition will run from July 28 to Aug. 7.
Neither Moors or Gardiner will have to look far for help to handle the pressure of their first Olympic appearance.
Their coach at Dynamo, Elvira Saadi, will be going to London with them. Saadi, a native of Uzbekistan who helped the Russian gymnastics team win gold at the 1972 and 1976 Olympics, has also been to the Games twice as a coach.
Saadi has coached the teenagers since they were beginners at the Cambridge Kips gymnastics club, and said they have a special combination of intelligence, natural athleticism and dedication.
“They’re the whole package. You could see that from five or six years old,” she said, in an earlier interview. “Yes, they’re talented, but they’re more than that.”
Cambridge’s Mikaela Gerber, 17, wasn’t chosen for the team headed to London. She finished eight in points at the Olympic selection camp. Dynamo’s Jessica Dowling finished ninth in points.