Even with the added pressure of being favoured to win gold, Simon Porter of Ontario did not falter and was in a league of his own tonight in the men’s All-Around gymnastics competition.
Porter topped the field on two apparatus, rings and vault, to solidify a convincing win with a total score of 79.35, two full points ahead of second place.
“Competition was really good. I hit 6 for 6 routines today,” said Porter. “I held all my strengths on rings and I nailed almost all my landings on floor.”
When asked how the flu virus, that assailed both he and his Ontario team-mates, affected his performances, Porter said: “It took away a little bit of bounce in my skills but my head space was pretty good. I just had to stay focused.”
The spectators here at the Canada Games Center had been blessed all week with exciting and down-to-the-wire competitions. And tonight was no different in the battle for silver and bronze.
Four gymnasts, from four different provinces, were neck and neck going into the final rotation. Evan Cruz, the local favourite, had a chance to win the first medal of these games for his province. The athlete from Nova Scotia averaged the highest execution score of all competitors, but his overall difficulty wasn’t enough to put him on the podium in the end. Cruz finished 5th, less than one point from the bronze medal.
Junior national champion on high bar, Curtis Graves from Saskatchewan, had the advantage of finishing on his strongest apparatus. He did not disappoint with the night-high 12.65. Graves missed the podium by only 0.5 points and finished fourth with a total score of 76.45.
Kal Nemier of BC, who was not in the leader group after qualification, surprised many and stood in the silver medal position with one competitor to go.
The only gymnast who could dethrone Nemier from silver was Mathieu Csukassy of Québec. Csukassy was comfortably holding the second place (1.5 points ahead of third place) going into the final apparatus.
A hit routine on high bar was what Csukassy needed. As he prepared for his dismount, Csukassy slipped, which forced an unexpected early release of the bar that had his coach holding his breath. The loss of height in the dismount caused a fall – and the silver medal for Csukassy.
Csukassy finished third with 76.95 points, less than 0.3 points behind Nemier and the silver medal. Rounding up the top 8 were: Zachary Clay from BC (6th); Damien Cachia from Alberta (7th); and Robert Kriangkum (8th), also from Alberta.
Tomorrow is the last day of competition for gymnastics with the apparatus finals for both men and women.