Filippo Tomasi
Filippo Tomasi

Canada secures Paris 2024 qualification in men’s artistic gymnastics

The Canadian men’s artistic gymnastics team has qualified a full team for the Olympic Games for the first time since Beijing 2008.

The team of Zachary Clay, René Cournoyer, Félix Dolci, William Émard, and Jayson Rampersad placed fourth in the qualification round for the team event at the 2023 FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in Antwerp, Belgium, which secures Canada a spot in the Olympic team event at Paris 2024.

“We knew we had a strong team, and that we could make it, but actually making it meant the world,” said veteran team leader Cournoyer. “I went to the last Olympics by myself, but doing it with the whole team is an entirely different level of happiness and accomplishment.”

Canada amassed 249.260 points across the six apparatus to place fourth behind Japan, the United States, and Great Britain. With that result, they will also be among the eight teams competing in the team final on Tuesday.

In the qualification round, each team put four gymnasts up on each apparatus, from which the top three scores per apparatus were counted. In the team final, only three gymnasts will compete on each apparatus and all three scores count towards the results.

The Canadian men were not given the opportunity to ease into the qualification round, having to start on the pommel horse, which has not historically been a strong apparatus for the country. But they hit all four routines, including that of Rampersad, competing on his only apparatus. They followed up with a nice set of rings routines that had them tied for third in scoring on that apparatus.

The team progressed well through the vault and parallel bars before putting up some big numbers on the horizontal bar, in which they also combined for the third-best nation score. They finished up on floor exercise, capping off their memorable day with beautiful routine by Dolci. His score of 14.500 ranked him fifth among all competitors, advancing him into the eight-man apparatus final. He also secured a spot in the horizontal bar final. Those apparatus finals will take place next weekend.

Cournoyer also did a lot of heavy lifting for the team, competing on all six apparatus and having all six of his scores count towards the team result. He advanced to Thursday’s individual all-around final in 17th place. Clay and Émard also went up on all six apparatus.

“Leading up to these world championships, the main goal was securing a team spot to the Olympic Games. Mission accomplished.” said Cournoyer. « There is so much significance to this fourth-place finish and I am so proud of all my teammates.”

Paris 2024 will mark the first time in two decades — since Athens 2004 — that Canada will have full women’s and men’s artistic gymnastics teams at the Olympic Games. The women’s team booked their spot with their historic bronze medal at last year’s world championships.