Biography:

Born in 2000, Shallon Olsen only became eligible to compete internationally as a senior in 2016. She had first represented Canada four years earlier, leading to a stellar junior career. In 2013 she won three gold medals at the junior national championships, taking the all-around, vault and floor exercise titles. She followed that up in 2014 by claiming junior national medals on all four apparatus (gold on vault, silver on uneven bars and beam, bronze on floor exercise) to go with an all-around silver. Olsen also enjoyed some standout international performances in 2014. At the Pacific Rim Championships she won silver in team and floor exercise to go with a bronze on vault. At the Junior Pan American Championships she helped Canada win team gold and captured a silver on vault. Olsen competed as a senior at the 2015 Canadian Championships where she finished sixth in the all-around but impressively won gold on vault. That proved to be a strong event in her first senior competitions in 2016, as she posted first place finishes at Elite Canada and the International Gymnix Senior Cup as well as the Pacific Rim Championships where she also won silver in team and bronze on floor exercise while placing fourth all-around. At the 2016 Canadian Championships Olsen won another gold on vault to go with her floor exercise silver and fourth place finish in the all-around. Her success has come despite growing seven inches over the course of just two years, which forced her to readjust all of her gymnastics. In her Olympic debut at Rio 2016, Olsen qualified for the eight-woman vault final.

Getting to know…

Family: Parents Tony Olsen and Jayne Chow-Olsen… Older brother Chas… Getting into the Sport: Started in gymnastics at age 3… By that age was the fastest bike rider in the family and needed the right environment to channel her energy… Outside Interests: Enjoys reading, doing word searches, baking, biking, going to the movies… Sometimes coaches gymnastics at birthday parties… Grade 10 student… Odds and Ends: Nicknames: Shally, Doll Face… Admires the long lines of American Olympic champion Nastia Liukin and the elegance of Romania’s multi-world medallist Larisa Iordache, which she would like to emulate… Favourite motto: “No matter how impossible, unattainable or unimaginable something may seem, never give up, Surprise everyone.”