Canadian gymnasts qualify for Olympics

By Amanda Hu

The Canadian Olympic men’s gymnastics team returned with mixed feelings from the gymnastics World Championships in Germany Sep. 10.

The team finished in 11th place in the Beijing 2008 qualifier, guaranteeing them a spot in the upcoming Olympic games, despite missing team leader and gold medalist Kyle Shewfelt.

“Everybody on the team did a good job,” said team member Grant Golding. “Everybody made our routines and there were no big mistakes. It was basically just like training.”

Though the team focused mainly on the games and practicing, they did get some leisure time in Stuttgart to enjoy the city, culture, and new gymnastic environment.

“I’ve been to Europe a few times already, but it’s always a little different in each city,” said Golding. “It was nice to see the cities and different architecture. For the most part, first, it’s all about taking care of business and competing and afterwards we got a little time to go out and enjoy the nightlife.”

Shewfelt is still on the sidelines as a result of fractures to both of his tibia plateaus, a dislodged bone chip and ligament damage in his left leg from a practice before the competition. A support team including coach Tony Smith, physiotherapist Susan Massitti and orthopaedic surgeon Nick Mohtadi is overseeing his recovery.

“Dr. Mohtadi put one screw in my right knee in order to help the healing and two in the left as well as a plate and then he had to re-attach the bone and the ligaments,” Shewfelt explained. “There’s a lot that went on in there, but it was done with the intention of [me] being able to come back.”

Despite the crippling injuries, the native Calgarian is hopeful about his participation in Beijing next summer.

“It takes a lot of energy to do simple tasks and I have to rely on so many people to help me,” he said. “My gut is telling me right now that, by the new year, I’ll be tumbling again and I’ll be able to compete and be good again by the time Beijing comes.”

Mohtadi also has high hopes for Shewfelt’s quick recovery.

“He has to return [to gymnastics],” said Mohtadi. “We treat elite athletes more aggressively because everybody has to have the same goals [for Shewfelt’s recovery]. It’s [Shewfelt], his coach, his therapist Susan [Massitti] and me as his surgeon [all working together].”

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