Victoria Moors and Madeline Gardiner.
Gymnasts Gymnasts Victoria Moors (left) and Madeline Gardiner warm up before practice at Dynamo Gymnastics in Cambridge. Both are heading to the 2012 Summer Olympics. June 2012
LONDON, ENGLAND - Victoria Moors may be youngest Canadian on the Olympic team, and one of the smallest athletes walking around inside the Olympic Park.
But when it comes to gymnastics' floor event, the 15-year-old Cambridge teen is Canada's giant at these Games.
It's fitting that Moors uses the song The Assassin's Tango in her powerful floor routine, a highly difficult performance she's been perfecting for three years in meets around the world. When she's on, she kills the competition.
"Other gymnasts had (that song) before, and I just started using it and I put my own twist on it," she said. "It's just one of those songs that makes your heart drop."
A choreographer customized the song for Moors, exaggerating its quiet and dramatic moments while her coach Elvira Saadi polished the performance. Since the teenager started doing the routine, she's been pretty much undefeated in Canada in floor.
Her other strong suit is the vault, an event where gymnasts sprint down a runway, hurtle themselves onto a springboard and launch a vault into the air. Moors specializes in a challenging double Yurchenko twisting vault, a risk-prone manoeuvre that forced Canada's Peng Peng Lee out of these Games.
Moors won in both events at the Olympic trials in Regina, and they're a big part of the reason she comes into these Games ranked fourth overall in the world, according to the international gymnastics federation FIG.
The gymnast, who started in the sport at the Cambridge Kips club as a child, is thought to be good enough to make the podium in London. That is, as long as she's healthy.
She revealed Thursday she's nursing a bit of a back injury that is causing discomfort in her workouts. But the problem won't affect her first appearance at the Olympics, she insisted.
"I have two tears in my back, but they're small," she said. "It's nothing, it's fine."
On Thursday, Moors and the rest of the Canadian artistic gymnastics team practised inside the massive North Greenwich Arena on the edge of the River Thames. Although the competition area was bathed in the pink and purple of the Games' official colours, it was a familiar scene.
It was here back in January during the Olympic test event that Moors and her teammate Madeline Gardiner from Hespeler's Dynamo Gymnastics helped Canada earn an Olympic berth. Gardiner, 17, was chosen as an alternate for the Olympics and will only compete if one of the starting five gymnasts are injured.
Moors admits it's a little overwhelming being the youngest Canadian competitor in London, but says she's trying to not be fazed by it.
"It's weird, because people are older and I'm just 15 ... But at the end of the day, I'm just another athlete here," she said.
It's also a little unusual being a tiny gymnast in the athletes' village, surrounded by towering basketball players and hulking rowers, she admitted.
"Usually when I go to competitions, everyone is just a gymnast. But you look at somebody and they're like eight feet tall, (you know) they're not a gymnast," she said.
Moors will compete with the rest of the Canadian team on Sunday in gymnastics' qualification round. If she makes it through, competition could continue until Aug. 7.
-- Torstar News Services