Team Canada gymnasts setting the bar high for Paris 2024

Paris 2024 is set to be a special one for Team Canada’s gymnasts and their fans. This summer will mark the first time in 20 years that Team Canada will be represented by full teams in both men’s and women’s artistic gymnastics at the Olympic Games.

The women’s artistic gymnastics (WAG) team will be led by veteran Ellie Black, who is set to compete at her fourth Olympic Games–a record for a Canadian artistic gymnast. Setting records is not new for Black, who at 16 years old helped Canada secure its best ever Olympic result in the women’s team event, a fifth place finish at London 2012. Rio 2016 saw Black finish fifth in the individual all-around final, Canada’s best ever Olympic result in that event. In 2017, she became the first Canadian to win a world championship all-around medal, taking silver in front of the home fans in Montreal. 

Black overcame adversity at the Tokyo 2020 Games, finishing fourth on the beam–the best Olympic by a Canadian woman in any artistic gymnastics event–after withdrawing from the all-around final due to an ankle sprain. In 2022, Black led the Canadian women to bronze in the team event at the world championships, marking Canada’s first medal in the team event, a result that also secured their Olympic qualification.

“I am thrilled to have qualified for the Canadian WAG Paris Olympic Games team. I feel a lot of pride and gratitude heading into my fourth Olympic Games. That is an incredible accomplishment. I wouldn’t be here without the support of my amazing team around me. I am excited to keep building with these girls and see what our team can do in Paris!” 

Ava Stewart performs a back flip in floor exercise
Canadian gymnast Ava Stewart competes in the floor routine during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on Sunday, July 25, 2021. Photo by Leah Hennel/COC

Black is again joined by Shallon Olsen, who will compete at her third Olympic Games after reaching the vault final at Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020, and Ava Stewart, who will compete at her second Olympic Games. For Stewart, the postponement of Tokyo 2020 by a year was actually beneficial, as she only became eligible for senior competition in 2021, the year of her 16th birthday. Cassie Lee and Aurélie Tran will make their Olympic debuts at Paris 2024. They both represented Team Canada at the Santiago 2023 Pan Am Games, along with Stewart, who won bronze on beam to go with the women’s team bronze.

Seeing the women’s team qualify at their very first opportunity set a fire under the men of Team Canada. The Canadian men locked up their qualification at the 2023 FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Championships with their incredible fourth-place finish in the qualification round. Four out of five of the men who helped qualify the team will be taking to the apparatuses in Paris.

René Cournoyer competes for Canada at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

As Canada’s lone men’s artistic gymnastics athlete at Tokyo 2020, René Cournoyer will play a leadership role on the team this year. Cournoyer finished a career-best 12th in the all-around final at the 2023 World Championships. At Santiago 2023, he won bronze on horizontal bar and contributed to the team silver.

“Being part of this team is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! Not only will it allow me to participate in my second Olympic Games, but I will do it with one of, if not the best teams ever. We have a serious chance to make history and achieve incredible international results in front of the whole world. Regardless of the outcome, I know I’ll have a blast with my teammates, and Paris will be an event I will remember for the rest of my life,” said Cournoyer.

Rising star Félix Dolci was also a member of the team that helped qualify Canada for the Games. He followed up that performance with a huge outing at the Pan Am Games in Santiago, which saw him come home with five medals–the most of any gymnast at the event. Dolci took gold in the men’s individual all-around , marking the first time since 1963 that a Canadian man stood atop the podium in that event at the Pan Am Games. Dolci also won gold on floor exercise, bronze on both vault and rings, and helped Team Canada secure a silver medal in the team event.

Felix Dolci does a one handed swing on the horizontal bar
Felix Dolci of Canada competes in the Men’s Artistic Gymnastics Team event during the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games on Saturday, October 21, 2023. Photo by Candice Ward/COC

“I am incredibly honored and excited to join the 2024 Paris team. Being named to this team is a dream come true, and I look forward to contributing my skills and passion to achieve our shared goals.” 

Zachary Clay and William Émard were both part of the squad that qualified Canada for the Olympic Games, as well as the team that secured silver at the Pan Am Games. Clay also took home a gold medal on pommel horse at Santiago 2023, where Émard earned a silver medal on rings. 

Émard defied the odds to make the Paris 2024 Canadian Olympic Team, after suffering a serious bicep injury in March. Focused on his rehabilitation throughout the spring, Émard recovered to win all-around bronze behind Dolci and Cournoyer at the 2024 Canadian Championships and solidify his spot on the team.

William Emard of Canada competes in the Men’s Artistic Gymnastics Team event during the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games on Saturday, October 21, 2023. Photo by Candice Ward/COC

Samuel Zakutney will round out the team, having returned to form after a shoulder injury took him out of competition. He was unable to compete at the 2023 World Championships and his absence served as motivation for the team’s historic performance as they used a rallying cry, “Do it for Sam,” throughout the event. 

Sophiane Méthot will be the sole representative for Team Canada in the discipline of trampoline. The 25-year old is a two-time Pan American champion who won individual bronze in her first career world championship appearance in 2017.

“I am so excited and honored to be representing Canada at the 2024 Paris Olympic Games. I look forward to sharing these Games with my family and friends who will be cheering me on from Paris!” Méthot said.

Sophiane Methot in a blue leotard performs a flip in pike position in the air
Sophiane Méthot competes at the 2023 FIG Trampoline World Championships in Birmingham, England (Gymnastics Canada/Graham Dodd)

Artistic gymnastics will take place from July 27 to August 5, while trampoline will be held on August 2, both at Bercy Arena.

Team Canada Gymnasts at Paris 2024:

Men’s Artistic Gymnastics:
René Cournoyer (Repentigny, Que.)
Zachary Clay (Chilliwack, B.C.)
Félix Dolci (Laval, Que.)
William Émard (Laval, Que.)
Samuel Zakutney (Ottawa, Ont.)

Women’s Artistic Gymnastics:
Ellie Black (Halifax, N.S.)
Shallon Olsen (Vancouver, B.C.)
Cassie Lee (Toronto, Ont.)
Ava Stewart (Bowmanville, Ont.)
Aurélie Tran (Repentigny, Que.)

Trampoline Gymnastics:
Sophiane Méthot (Varennes, Que.)