Published Friday 13 June 2014

Twelve athletes will represent New Zealand in gymnastics at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games the New Zealand Olympic Committee announced today.

Full men’s and women’s artistic teams have been selected for the Glasgow team along with two women in the rhythmic discipline.

Leading a young women’s artistic team is Courtney McGregor who at just 15 years of age is considered the top prospect with all-rounders Charlotte Sullivan (16), Mackenzie Slee (16), Brittany Robertson (17) and Anna Tempero (19) completing the team.

McGregor was New Zealand’s first female gymnast to make a world cup final (Doha, Qatar in March 2014) and win a medal at the prestigious Pacific Rim (Vancouver, Canada in April 2014) Championships.

Now, with a focus on increasing levels of difficulty on vault, McGregor and her team mates provide an opportunity for New Zealand to record strong individual and team scores.

“The women’s team has focused on increasing the difficulty of the routines and are now exhibiting skills that have been rarely seen in Oceania,” explained GymSports NZ CEO Sarah Ashmole.

“Courtney, in particular, has two very difficult vaults which, until 2014, had only been done by New Zealand male gymnasts.”

“The competition at Glasgow will be tough, but we are expecting finals performances from the women with the possibility of a medal in an individual apparatus event.”

Commonwealth Games veterans Matthew Palmer (age 27, CWG 2010) and Mikhail (Misha) Koudinov (age 22, CWG 2006 and 2010) lead the strongest men’s artistic team New Zealand has seen for a number of years with opportunities for a strong performance on the individual apparatus, including rings where Palmer is expected deliver one of the highest levels of difficulty in the competition.

The men’s team, which secured a total of nine medals at the recent Australian National Championships in Melbourne in May 2014, also consists of David Bishop (24), Kristofer Done (22) and Reid McGowan (21).

In the rhythmic discipline, Kelly McDonald (20) joins five-time New Zealand champion Amelia Coleman (17) in targeting finals spots in Glasgow.

Ashmole notes McDonald has recently lost her mother to illness and credits the 20 year old with strength and resolve. “She has kept her focus through all the difficulties of her personal situation and is one of the strongest minded athletes GymSports New Zealand has seen,” she said.     

Ashmole added that the gymnasts named today have benefitted from a more cohesive approach to performance planning across the wider GymSports community and network of clubs. She says the change is expected to pay dividends.

“Some of the best minds in New Zealand gymnastics came to together with a plan to create a higher level of performance in the sports,” she said.

“While it will be tough competition, there is certainly an expectation of an artistic medal on an apparatus and the athletes are prepared and ready to go. “

The women’s gymnastics team has a strong base in Christchurch with members of the men’s team training in Auckland and the United States.

The men’s team will gather in London for a training camp prior to the Commonwealth Games opening on 23 July.

New Zealand has won ten medals in the gymnastics disciplines at the Commonwealth Games, the last being won by current men’s team coach, David Phillips, who secured bronze at Kuala Lumpur in 1998.

ENDS

For more information contact

Ashley Abbott

New Zealand Olympic Committee

021 552 021

Sarah Ashmole

CEO GymSports NZ

64 21829227

Women’s Artistic Gymnasts

Charlotte Sullivan – Christchurch School of Gymnastics

Charlotte is 16 years old and is trained by Commonwealth Games Team Coaches, Jozsi Ferencz and Svetlana Sazonova.

Charlotte is a good all round athlete who excels on beam and floor. In 2014 she competed at the 2014 Doha World Cup placing 5th on floor (the 2nd New Zealand athlete to achieve a final at a World Cup in women’s gymnastics). She also competed at 2014 Pacific Rim Championships in Canada placing 11th overall and 7th on floor. 

Charlotte is one to watch on floor and beam.        

Courtney McGregor – Christchurch School of Gymnastics

Courtney McGregor is 15 years old and is trained by Commonwealth Games Team Coaches, Jozsi Ferencz and Svetlana Sazonova.

Courtney excels on vault but performs well on the other three pieces of apparatus.  In 2014 she competed at the Doha World Cup placing 4th on vault and was the first New Zealand athlete to make a final in a World Cup.

She also competed at 2014 Pacific Rim Championships in Canada taking the silver medal on vault behind a Canadian athlete – this was a first for a New Zealand women’s gymnast.  Courtney also came 8th in the floor final.  

Courtney is one to watch on vault where she has the most difficult vaults seen in New Zealand by both men and women.        

Mackenzie Slee – Christchurch School of Gymnastics

Mackenzie is 16 years old and is trained by Commonwealth Games Team Coaches, Jozsi Ferencz and Svetlana Sazonova.

Mackenzie moved in 2013 from Hutt Valley GymSports where she was coached by brevet judge Michelle Woolf, to build up for the Commonwealth Games. 

Mackenzie competed in the Hungarian International at the end of 2013 and placed 3rd overall and first on vault. Mackenzie is a great all round athlete and excels on vault and beam.

Brittany Robertson – Christchurch School of Gymnastics

Brittany is 17 years old and comes from Auckland. Brittany is coached by Commonwealth Games Team Coaches, Jozsi Ferencz and Svetlana Sazonova.

At the beginning of 2014, Brittany moved to Christchurch from North Harbour Gymnastics Centre where she was coached by Russian coach Alexandra Koudinova. Alexandra, (mother of Misha Koudinov see above) has produced many international athletes for both Russia and New Zealand.   

Brittany has represented New Zealand at the 2011 Youth Commonwealth Games where she placed 2nd overall. She has trained with USA Olympic Coach Valeri Liukin and has competed in the USA and Canada.

In 2012 she has a bad shoulder injury which saw have reduced hours on her sport. She began competing again in early 2014 and is continuing to increase her difficulty in preparation for the Glasgow Games.     

Brittany is an elegant gymnast who has wonderful presence and lines on floor and beam.

Anna Tempero – Christchurch School of Gymnastics

Anna is the oldest member of the Women’s Gymnastics team at 19 years old. She began her career at Blenheim Gymnastics Club and moved to Christchurch at the beginning for 2013.

Anna is coached by Commonwealth Games Team Coaches, Jozsi Ferencz and Svetlana Sazonova. 

She is considered to be a good all rounder who excels on all apparatus. 

Men’s Artistic Gymnasts

Kristofer (Kris) Done - North Harbour Gymnastics Centre (North Shore Auckland)

Kris is 22 years old and started gymnastics in the USA. He came to New Zealand because his family moved here. He trained at North Harbour Gymnastics Centre in Auckland and was coached by Sasha Koudinov.

Kris represented New Zealand at the Australian National Championships before moving to study at Ohio University in the USA. He excelled on high bar but was hampered by an injury to his knee in 2013.

Having now recovered Kris competed at the Commonwealth Games trials as part of the 2014 Australian National Championships where he placed 3rd overall.    

Mikhail (Misha) Koudinov – North Harbour Gymnastics Centre (North Shore Auckland)

Misha is 22 years old and started gymnastics at North Harbour Gymnastics Centre in Auckland and was coached by his father Sasha Koudinov who will be with him Glasgow. The 2014 Commonwealth Games will Mishas 3rd having competed in Melbourne 2006 (as a 16 year old) and Delhi 2010 where he placed 6th overall and floor and 5th on rings.  

Both his mother and father are in gymnastics and are coaches at North Harbour Gymnastics Centre.

He is the only New Zealand athlete to make a Men’s Gymnastics World Cup final and he did this in 2007 in Shanghai in the floor exercise.

He has competed at multiple world championships and was close to qualifying for the 2012 Olympics.

Misha has been based at Ohio University in the USA for the last 3 years and has been competing in the American University system. He is studying languages.

As part of the Commonwealth Games trials, Misha competed at the 2014 Australian National Championships where he placed 2nd overall and medalled on pommels and parallel bars.    

David Bishop – Tri Star Gymnastics (Mount Roskill, Auckland)

David is 24 years old and trains under 2014 Commonwealth Games Team Coach David Phillips. (David Phillips was a bronze medallist on floor at the Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth Games in 1998).

He is the current New Zealand National Champion and has competed at world cups, the World university games and the world championships.  He recently came 4th overall and first on floor in the 2014 Australian National Championships. 

Reid McGowan – Tri Star Gymnastics (Mount Roskill, Auckland)

Reid is 21 years old and trains under 2014 Commonwealth Games Team Coach David Phillips. In 2011 he placed 4th overall in the Youth Commonwealth Games and has attended world cups in 2013.

Reid recently own gold on pommel at the 2014 Australian Nationals Championships.

Matthew (Matt) Palmer – Tri Star Gymnastics (Mount Roskill, Auckland)

Matt is the oldest member of the men’s gymnastics team at the age of 27 Years. He moved from Blenheim Gymnastics Club to attend university in Auckland and train with David Phillips at Tri Star Gymnastics.  

This will be Matts 2nd Commonwealth Games having competed at the 2010 Delhi Games.  He is an apparatus specialist and excels on the rings.

Matt is an experienced gymnast having competed in world cups and the world championships.

Over the last few years he has been hampered by injury but is back to his best for the Games.    

Matt recently won silver on rings at the 2014 Australian Nationals Championships.

Rhythmic Gymnasts

Kelly MacDonald – Xtreme Rhythmic (Auckland)

Kelly is 20 years old and is from Mission Bay in Auckland. Kelly is trained by Canadian coach Marnie Sterner who will be with her in Glasgow.

Kelly has recently lost her mother through illness and has focused on her sport to get her through.

Amelia Coleman – Olympia Gymnastic Sports (Christchurch) 

Amelia is 17 years old and coached by Elena Mesheryakova and Kathryn Holdsworth.

She has extensive international experience having competed at the 2013 Pesaro World Cup.

She has lived and trained in Russia with the top coaches in the sport.