Qualification competition continues in Subdivision 8, which features two gymnasts from Stanford University competing for different countries.
Canada's team includes Kristina Vaculik, now a freshman at Stanford, who will compete in the same subdivision as her new teammate Nicole Pechancova (Pechanec) of the Czech Republic. There is yet a third Cardinal gymnast in Rotterdam: sophomore Eddie Penev of the Bulgarian men's team.
Canada finished a disappointing 14th in both 2006 and 2007, but will try to get back in the top 12. The team is missing the injured Brittany Rogers, however, but will need to rely on Vaculik. The always-interesting Charlotte Mackie, sister of 2004 Olympian Gael, will need to step up as well.
Kristina Vaculik (Canada)
Canada starts on vault, where Vaculik is the only gymnast planning to do two vaults. The team effort is anchored by Jessica Savona, who has come back strong from a torn ACL several years ago. The Canadians need to increase their difficulty on vault, where the double-twisting Yurchenko is the standard for the top teams.
Savona is full of tricks on uneven bars, as is Vaculik, coached for most of her career by Olympic champion Yelena Davydova. Commonwealth team member Emma Willis anchors the team on bars, as well as beam, where she has a standing Arabian.
Canada's team effort concludes with Vaculik on floor exercise, who was third on both bars and floor at the Pan American Championships in September.
Colombia: Uneven Bars
Colombia is fielding a full team this year, led by its two best gymnasts ever: 2008 Olympian Nathalia Sanchez and 2009 world floor finalist Jessica Gil.
The team includes two Colombian-Americans: Gil, who trains at Universal Gymnastics in Florida, and Luisa Leal, who trained at Indigo Gymnastics in New Jersey and now attends Rutgers University.
Czech Republic: Balance Beam
The Czech Republic can put up some good routines, and is looking to continue its improvement. The team was 20th in 2006 and moved up to 16th in 2007. A similar jump will put them in the top 12.
The team includes Pechancova, who is last up on beam and who has an interesting free hip-Gienger on uneven bars, as well as Olympian Kristyna Palesova and World Cup gold medalist Jana Sikulova.
Austria: Floor Exercise
The Austrians also are demonstrating their improvement by fielding a full team for the first time in several years. The team would need to show great improvement to get into the top 24.
Next Up in Subdivision 9:: Spain, Portugal and Dutch neighbor Belgium!
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