TORONTO, May 21 /CNW/ - Gymnast Kyle Shewfelt, Olympic champion in the
floor event and the sole Canadian to win an Olympic medal in artistic
gymnastics, today announced his retirement from the national team. The
Canadian Olympic Team congratulates Shewfelt, 27, on a courageous and landmark
career in gymnastics, which spanned the last three Olympic Games.
"Kyle is one of those select athletes who show amazing determination in
the face of major obstacles, all the while imbued with Olympic passion," said
Chris Rudge, CEO and secretary general of the Canadian Olympic Committee
(COC). "He is a tremendous inspiration to a whole generation of young
gymnasts, as well as to everyone around him. He will remain an iconic figure
in Canadian sport for his accomplishments."
At his first Olympic Games in 2000, Shewfelt finished 12th in the floor
event, a significant accomplishment. At the 2003 World Championships, he
captured two bronze medals, which set the stage for his historic performance
at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.
There, he won the gold medal on floor to become Canada's first (and still
only) artistic gymnast to reach the Olympic podium. Also at those Games,
Shewfelt narrowly missed a second medal in vault, finishing fourth due to a
judging decision. His performances that summer in Athens came after seriously
injuring his left foot only a few months earlier.
"Through his performances and conviction, Kyle has raised the level of
awareness of gymnastics in Canada immeasurably," said David Bedford, Team
Canada's 2004 Chef de Mission. "He has demonstrated grace under pressure
during the controversial fourth-place finish in vault in 2004, and leadership
in leading his teammates into Beijing last summer after returning from major
In 2005, Shewfelt began training toward defending his Olympic title at
the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. He won bronze in floor at the 2006 World
Championships. But in 2007, Shewfelt broke both his legs during a training
session at the World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany. Determined to make
the Olympic Games, Shewfelt underwent major surgery and months of
rehabilitation. The Olympic Games were his first major meet since the injury.
Though he did not reach the finals in floor or vault in Beijing, the
extraordinary determination, passion and leadership he showed by competing
will not be forgotten.
His influence in Beijing was evident in the confidence shown by several
of Canada's younger gymnasts. Adam Wong finished 15th and Nathan Gafuik
finished 17th in the all-around artistic final, both finishes higher than any
Canadian gymnast in the past. (Both are also from Calgary, as is Shewfelt.) On
the women's side, Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs reached the all-around finals and
finished a strong 16th overall.
Kyle Shewfelt will be missed by the Canadian Olympic Team.
For further information:
For further information: Isabelle Hodge, Manager, Media Relations,
Canadian Olympic Committee, Phone: (416) 324-4122, Cell: (416) 806-4342,