IG Online's annual tradition of holiday-themed features continues with this feature on Canadian gymnast Bianca Dancose-Giambattisto.
As Canada's Bianca Dancose-Giambattisto prepares to help her team earn an Olympic berth at next month's test event, she told IG she is taking time to reflect on 2011 and enjoy the holidays with her family.
French-Canadian Bianca Dancose-Giambattisto at the 2010 Worlds in Rotterdam
Dancose-Giambattisto said several moments stand out as highlights of her 2011 competition year. These include her performances at the Canadian championships, where she placed first on uneven bars and third all-around; the Puerto Rico Cup, where she placed first on uneven bars and balance beam, and second all-around; and this month's Ostrava Grand Prix in the Czech Republic, where she placed second on uneven bars and third on balance beam. At last month's Osijek Challenger Cup in Croatia, she placed fifth on uneven bars.
"Puerto Rico, Osijek and Ostrava were amazing experiences," said Dancose-Giambattisto, who also committed to competing for a U.S. university following the 2012 Olympics. "And, of course being chosen as a University of Florida Gator gymnast!"
Dancose-Giambattisto, who is coached by Galina Larshina and Michel Charron at the Gym-Richelieu club in Saint-Hubert, said Canada has a good chance to qualify for next summer's Olympic Games in London.
Canada finished 11th at the world championships held in October in Tokyo, where the top eight teams earned automatic berths to the Olympics. Four other teams will qualify for the Games based on their performance at next month's Olympic test event, which will also take place in London.
Dancose-Giambattisto said team cohesion will be Canada's key to Olympic qualification, and she hopes to contribute to the team's success on her best events.
"We must really come together as a team, and go out there confident and ready to perform with stability," she said. "Canada definitely has the potential to qualify a team for the Olympics. I am training vault and floor but I am really concentrating on bars and beam for now. If I make the team, it will be because of my strong bars and beam."
Born October 1, 1994, in Chateauguay, Quebec, Dancose-Giambattisto has a combination family name that reflects her French and Italian heritage.
"Dancose is French and comes from my mom," she said. "Giambattisto is Italian. My grandfather on my dad's side of the family is Italian. My mom is a French Quebecer and my dad is an English Quebecer. I am perfectly bilingual."
With the Olympic test event set for Jan. 10-13, Dancose-Giambattisto will make the most of her short holiday celebration.
"I will be spending the 25th with my family," she said. "Montreal is a wonderful city during the holidays. I love all the lights on the main street and the snow. From the 26th to the 31st I will be in Gatineau for the test event (Canadian team) qualifications."
Dancose-Giambattisto is determined to adhere to her New Year's resolution that is unique in today's social media- and electronics-driven culture.
"My resolution for 2012 is to spend less time on Facebook and cell phones," she told IG. "They are so addictive and so time-consuming. It will be hard!"