Australia is just burtsing with gymnastic talent. The Australian women have been wowing crowds and judges all over the world over the last year, showing that we are certainly a force to be reckoned with. Unless otherwise stated, all photos are copyright to me, so please don't take them without asking!
TRUDY McINTOSH (VIS)
Trudy was the 1998 Junior National Champion and followed up this year to become the 1999 Senior National champion. She placed 2nd AA to Vanessa Atler at the 97 Canberra Cup and placed 4th AA at the 98 World Youth Games among a world class field. At the 1998 Commonwealth Games she put in steady performanced to assist the Australian team to win the team gold. Trudy later came 3rd AA and came 1st BB and 3rd VH. Known for her power and dynamic performances, vault is definitely her forte, capable of a Handspring front layout full. If there is one weak apparatus, it would be UB, where she has struggled in the past. She has recently upgraded the difficulty in her Floor to a 10.0 start value, and is thought to be a realistic chance for vault finals at the 99 Worlds. Originally from Geelong, Trudy trains at the VIS under Mark Calton and Fiona Bird.
Trudy McIntosh: Champions Homepage
The Trudy McIntosh Homepage
MELINDA CLELAND (VIS)
Melinda is my favourite gymnast and definitly one of the hottest gymnasts in the country. After the dissappointment of missing out on the Commonwealth Games team by one place, Melinda picked herself up to take 3rdAA at the 98 Camberra Cup, 1st BB and FX at the 99 Victorian C'ships and 2nd AA at 1999 Nationals. With only a few days notice, Melinda travelled to America to compete at the prestigious American Cup, where she became the only Australian ever to make it through to the finals, placing 6th AA. More recently she has led the Australian Team at the 99 ITCs and won the AA at the recent Australia vs France competition. Melinda is very explosive and never seems to hold back. She is definitely one to watch out for, leading into the Olympics. She trained for a short while at the AIS when she was nine, but is now nicely settled in the strong VIS gymnastics squad.
Melinda Cleland: Champions Homepage
BROOKE WALKER (VIS)
Brooke is finally getting everything together after a long and frustrating struggle with injury. After winnning the 1997 Junior National C'ships, Brooke placed 3rd AA at the 1999 Senior Nationals. In 1998 she represented Australia at the Senior Pacific Alliance C'ships and Pusan Intl. This year she has been in the ITCs team and that which competed in the Aust vs France competition. Brooke's best appartus is UB where she peforms lovely Stalder combinations and a piked Deltchev. She won this apparatus at the 1999 Victorian Championships.
ZEENA McLAUGHLIN (VIS)
Devestated after narrowly missing selection for the 1996 Olympics, McLaughlin has regained her spirits and has had a fantastically successful few years since. It is hard to list all of Zeena's accomplishments in such as small space, but the 1998 Snr National Champion won the AA at the 98 Commonwealth Games (aswell as team gold and minor apparatus medals. Invited to compete at the 98 Goodwill Games in New York, where she impressed the crowd and the judges, placing 8thAA and 4th BB. She followed that up with great success in the European Grand Prix circuit in the later part of 98. Zeena placed 6th at the 99 Nationals and is just starting to regain her winning form of 1998.
Unofficial Zeena McLaughlin Homepage
BROOKE O'BRIEN (VIS)
Brooke O'Brien is my other favourite Aussie gymnast. She came 2nd AA at the 98 Jnr Nationals and placed 10th AA as a senior at the 99 Nationals. Brooke reminds me a lot of Zeena, when she was the same age: lots of talent but still finding her consistency. In 1999 she placed 6th at the Victorian Championships and placed 2nd FX, and represented Australia at the Romanian Intl in April. At the Aus vs Esp competition, Brooke placed 9th in the AA. Brooke placed 13th AA at the 1999 Worlds Trials after a disastrous first day of competition. At these trials she debuted her new vault, a handspring front layout.
Photo (right) taken from Spirit 2000.
ANN-MAREE VALLANCE (WAIS)
Ann-Maree is just full of talent and could easily be among the top Aussie girls if she hits. Always appearing quite nervous, Ann-Maree has some really pretty touches in her work, especially on beam, and her floor routine to the Russian folk song "Dark Eyes" is lovely. She didn't compete at this years Nationals due to injury, but performed well at the 99 Victorian Championships, three weeks prior: 2nd BB, VH.
ALLANA SLATER (WAIS)
Always the performer, Slater , 2nd AA 98 Commonwealth Games, has improved greatly since then, perfoming with much more finesse and control. At the 99 Nationals, she placed 5th AA and received a perfect 10 on UB (0.2 bonus for stuck landing). She won the 99 Victorian C'ships and has represented Australia at the ITCs and the Aust vs France competition. She recently included in her bars program the Lu Li transition, and changed her ff layout on beam to ff Onodi. Some may argue that no one can perform to her music as well as the original user, Oksana Omelianchik (USSR), but I think Allana does a very nice job! Sadly, Allana lost her father in a plane crash in 1997, but she continues to have success in the sport, certianly bringing him pride. Photo (left) (C)1999 R A Matheson. Photo (right) taken from Spirit 2000.
PAULINE CZARNECKI (VIS)
Hailing from the same suburb as myself, Pauline works with lovely style and grace. 6th AA at the 98 Canberra Cup, and 14th AA at the 99 Romanian International, Pauline placed 7th at the 99 Nationals. Using Shannon Miller's 96 FX music, Pauline's classic lines suit the music. She has a lovely beam routine which includes a ff Onodi.
LISA SKINNER (QHPC)
Lisa is Australia's most experienced international competitor, having competed at the 95 and 97 Worlds, 96 Olympics and 98 Commonwealth Games, despite a career plagued by injuries. Coached by Vladimir Zakharov, she placed 36th in the AA at Atlanta, then improved to place 29th AA at the 97 Worlds. Skinner shines on the Uneven Bars, where her flawless technique won her the Commonwealth Gold on that apparatus. Lisa took three months off after the Commonwealth Games, and amid speculations of retirement, she recommenced training and was a petition onto the 99 National Team, after only competing 3 events at the 99 Nationals. Recently, Lisa comfirmed that she is a leading contender for the 99 Worlds Team, by coming 3rdAA at the Aus vs Esp meet, the highest placed Australian. Lisa's experience and calm temperament should favour her as she looks to qualify for the World Championships in October.
KATARINA FRKETIC (AIS)
Frketic had a very successful career as a junior athlete, winning the 96 Junior Nationals. That same year, the 13 year old went on to place 11th AA and 4th on Vault at the Australia Cup. In 1998 she represented Australia in the World Youth Games (team competition) and was selected to compete at the Commonwealth Games, winning the team gold. Katarina placed 4th AA at the 99 Nationals and competed at the ITCs in America. Since then, injury has prevented her from representing her country. Photos taken from Spirit 2000.
ALEXANDRA CROAK (AIS)
After seeing Alexandra compete for the first time at the 1999 World Championship trials, I was immediately impressed with this slight and elegant gymnast, hailing from New South Wales. She shows beautiful lines on beam and on bars, yet injury has hampered her promising career. After not competing at the 1999 National Championships, Croak made everyone stand up to attention at the 99 Worlds Trials when she performed brilliantly to finish 6th overall, after only having been back in training for 6 weeks after an elbow injury. One of the few Australians to compete a double arabian on floor, Croak also has a fantastic bars set, highlighted bya Geinger and Kim releases and a double front dismount, which, at the time of trials, only had a 9.60 SV. One can only wonder about how menacing Alexandra will be when she regains her full strength.
Photos taken from Spirit 2000.
TAM LE (WAIS)
After a mediocre performance at the 1999 Victorian Championships where she sustained an elbow injury, Tam fought back to finish 11th AA at the 1999 Nationals. Somewhat weak on vault and floor, Tam has innovative work on the Uneven Bars and Balance beam, on which she mounts a RO onto board to full twisting Rulfova; and also a side jump into split handstand. Tam did not perform her best at the 1999 Worlds Trials, finishing in 14th place, but she is still one of the most beautiful and elegant gymnast in the country that will challenge in years to come.Photo taken from Spirit 2000.
Trudy McIntosh Melinda Cleland Brooke Walker
Zeena McLaughlin Brooke O'Brien Ann-Maree Vallance
Allana Slater Pauline Czarnecki Lisa Skinner