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Online Interview With Victoria Kayen Woo
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Embarking this month on a training camp in Japan with her Canadian teammates, two-time World Championships competitor Victoria Kayen Woo is focusing on a top all-around finish at next month’s Canadian Championships, as well as berths to this fall’s Worlds in Stuttgart and next summer’s Tokyo Olympic Games.

The 21-year-old Woo, who placed fifth all-around at last month’s World Cup of Birmingham, has been a mainstay on the Canadian squad for the past two Olympic cycles. She trains under coaches Michel Charron and Marie-Josée Laperrière at Gym-Richelieu in Saint-Hubert, Quebec.

Woo finished 52nd all-around in qualifications at the 2014 Worlds in Nanning, and 44th all-around in qualifications at the 2015 Worlds in Glasgow. She was a member of Canada’s silver medal-winning team at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto, where she won the bronze medal on balance beam. Last year she was sixth all-around at both the Canadian Championships and Pacific Rim Championships in Colombia, and seventh all-around at the World Cup of Tokyo.

Woo, the older sister of 2016 Canadian Olympian Rose Kaying Woo, shares her thoughts and hopes in this IG Online interview.

IG: How did your performance in Birmingham boost your confidence for the big meets coming up, such as the Canadian Championships and World Championships?

VW: Competing alongside some of the world’s best gymnasts really opened my eyes as to my belonging on the international plateau. I was very grateful to be given this opportunity, and this competition was certainly a milestone for my upcoming meets.

IG: At the 2014 Worlds and in Birmingham, you competed against your favorite gymnast, Aliya Mustafina. Why is she your favorite gymnast? And given that she is your favorite, how were you able to perform calmly against her?

VW: I have always loved her elegance and poise in her gymnastics. I always thought she was the nicest gymnast to watch. At first, I was a little bit intimidated by her, but I soon comforted myself by focusing on my gymnastics and staying calm. I just enjoyed the moment.

IG: Had you competed at the 2016 Rio Olympics, do you think you would still be competing today?

VW: My sister Rose Woo was part of the team and I traveled to Rio to watch her. Looking back to Rio, I would not have thought I would be still competing today. I had a scholarship for Ohio State University starting August 2016 and decided to stay home to compete one more year for Canada.

IG: What is the purpose of your team’s training camp in Japan?

VW: It is a national team training camp. We are nine seniors traveling to train in Japan. The general objective of this camp is to familiarize ourselves in preparation for Tokyo 2020. It is also a team-building camp, which will be a lot of fun.

IG: What is your target for the Canadian Championships? Will you be aiming for a high all-around finish, or do you think you have a better chance to earn a spot for Stuttgart on one or more apparatuses?

VW: I consider myself to be more of an all-around gymnast, thus I will be aiming for a high all-around finish.

IG: Canada almost won a team medal at the 2018 Worlds (fourth place), and many people think Canada can continue to challenge for a team medal in Stuttgart and Tokyo 2020. What do you think Canada will need to improve in order to win team medals in those competitions?

VW: Yes, it was a record finish for Canada. I believe Canada has everything necessary to contend for a medal and just needs to focus on consistency and teamwork, and we will be back on track to maintaining our success.

IG: What do you think you can offer to the Canadian team in Stuttgart, and moreover, in Tokyo?

VW: I believe that I can contribute to Canada because I have a lot of international experience. I believe I also have a good team spirit.

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