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Canadian Olympic Team Congratulates Kyle Shewfelt on Historic Gymnastics Career

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 injury.”

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.