Article by: Gymnastics Canada
CHARLOTTETOWN, PEI (February 22, 2023) — Both the men and women representing Team Ontario at the PEI 2023 Canada Winter Games put together a couple of spectacular performances on Monday and Tuesday, which allowed the province to earn a gold medal sweep in the male and female team events for artistic gymnastics.
No province or territory has swept gold in the team event in over 25 years of competition at the Canada Winter Games, making Ontario the first to do it in at least a quarter of a century.
Getting things started for Canada’s most populous province was the men on Monday. Featuring a group of Jack Stargratt-Sweeney (Manjak's Gymnastics, ON), Matteo Bardana (Manjak's Gymnastics, ON), Sam Rakita (East York Gymnastics Club, ON), Sam Waller (Loyalist Gymnastics, ON), Trent Milligan (Gold Medal Gymnastics, ON) and Xavier Olasz (Loyalist Gymnastics, ON), Team Ontario topped the competition with a final score of 305.550 — placing first in this event for the third Canada Games in a row. Following Ontario was Team British Columbia (303.650) who narrowly edged Team Quebec (302.900) silver medal position.
“It’s amazing to get out here and experience that. The Games only happen every four years, so [this gold medal] is very special to us and it gives us great confidence going into the competitions ahead,” said Xavier Olasz, who is coached by Alexander Jeltkov at Loyalist Gymnastics Club. “I remember watching the last Canada Games and wishing I could be there. So to be here now and to win a gold [on Monday] — it was really special.”
Olasz’s coach, Jeltkov, who is a non-traveling alternate team coach/manager for Team Ontario, still holds the record for most medals won at a single Canada Winter Games with eight (4 gold, 4 silver). It is a mark he set during the 1995 Canada Winter Games in Grand Prairie, Alberta.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the Ontario women completed the sweep by placing first with a score of 148.395. The collectives performances by Cléante Théorêt (Ottawa Gymnastics Centre, ON), Ella Power (Manjak's Gymnastics, ON), Jada Yip-Janniere (Oakville Gymnastics Club, ON), Jenna Sartoretto (Futures Gymnastics, ON), Maya Peters (East York Gymnastics Club, ON) and Nyla Morabito (Manjak's Gymnastics, ON) helped Ontario place first in this competition at the Canada Games for the first time in 12 years.
Right behind them was Team Quebec (147.262) and Team British Columbia (143.787) who rounded out the other two podium positions.
“Our team has been preparing hard for this event and just been so supportive of each other. We were just so excited to be competing and be a part of something bigger,” said Jenna Sartoretto, who will be joining the Univeristy of Nebraska's women's gymnastics team next fall. “I had a couple of teammates that were previously at the Games, and they had such an amazing experience. So, I just really wanted to indulge in that experience and get a ‘feel’ of what it feels like to be part of Team Ontario, and it is just something bigger.”
The focus of artistic gymnastics at the 2023 Canada Games will now shift to individual disciplines, starting with the male and female all-around events. This event will feature the three highest scoring gymnasts from each province and territory during the team event, along with the next best eight for the men and the next three for the women.
Those competitions will get started today, with the male all-around final scheduled to start at 4:30 p.m. AST. The female all-around final will go one day later on Thursday, February 23 at 4:30 p.m. AST.
You can watch all 2023 Canada Games competitions, including its trampoline and artistic gymnastic events, at canadagames.ca/watch. Full schedule and results can also be found at bit.ly/3DW36hA, while photos taken at all competitions can be seen at canadagames.photoshelter.com.
Photo: Erin Van Driel