July 31, 2012
LONDON, England -
Stanford's Kristina Vaculik has helped make Canadian gymnastics history.
Vaculik, who will be a sophomore at Stanford this fall, contributed to an effort that allowed Canada to finish fifth in the Olympic women's gymnastics team final at North Greenwich Arena on Tuesday.
It was Canada's best-ever team finish.
Canada had never reached a team final in a non-boycotted Olympics, meaning its mere appearance was a historic achievement for the program. But to finish fifth -- as the top team below the traditional powers of the United States, Russia, Romania, and China -- was an accomplishment of another level. Canada scored 170.804 points to edge Great Britain (170.495) for that spot.
In the team final format, each team uses three individuals for each event and each score counts. Vaculik, Canada's reigning all-around champion, competed on the uneven bars (14.166) and balance beam (13.433). Her bars score tied for 16th best in the competition and her beam placed her 20th.
Earlier, during the team qualification meet on Sunday, Vaculik placed 32nd in the all-around, scoring 53.566, though it wasn't enough to advance her into the individual event competitions. Vaculik's best scores came on the bars (14.366) and vault (14.100). She also scored 13.800 on the floor exercise and 11.300 on the beam.
The Whitby, Ontario, native competed for Stanford as a freshman in 2011, but returned to Canada to train full time for her Olympic shot with Gemini Gymnastics coach Yelena Davydova, the 1980 Olympic all-around champion from the Soviet Union.
Vaculik will return to a Stanford team coming off a fourth-place finish at the 2012 NCAA Super Six. She will be among three Olympians on the Stanford team, including Shona Morgan (Australia) and Rebecca Wing (Great Britain), who competed in the Beijing Games.