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Kanata Rhythmic Rewind: Season of rejuvenation for storied gymnastics club

By Ottawa Sports Pages, for Kanata Rhythmic Sportive Gymnastics Club

The 40-year-old carpet at Kanata Rhythmic Gymnastics had seen a lot.

It laid underneath as generations of gymnasts cycled in and out, learning the sport and passing it on to others. But after decades of routines, it was time for a new one.

The club purchased a new training and competition cover this year, thanks to a grant of more than $20,000 from the Ontario Trillium Foundation. The Spieth carpet is top quality, the same brand used by Gymnastics Canada.

But the ol’ faithful carpet – dating back almost to when Dasa Lelli founded the club in 1975 – hasn’t been chucked to the curb just yet. Instead, it’s used to cover the other half of the gym floor at Bridlewood Elementary for less advanced activities. Ultimately, the extra space has allowed Kanata Rhythmic to open new classes and welcome more athletes.

“We’re so appreciative to have the Trillium Foundation’s support,” underlines Kanata Rhythmic head coach Yuliana Korolyova. “It’s made a huge different for our club and our community.”

With a solid foundation under them, Kanata rhythmic gymnasts flew high during their 2022-2023 season, which recently wrapped by with a flurry of year-end events.

“It’s been a very successful season,” highlights Korolyova. “There’s definitely been lots of excitement and lots of great memories made.”



After the disruptions of COVID and being shut out of their training spaces for much of that time, the club is now back humming along at full power. Last year, Kanata Rhythmic could only offer one recreational class for new gymnasts. Now, with a full-gym carpet and the chaos of COVID-19 behind it, the club has opened up three more recreational classes to soaring success.

“That’s the future and that’s our community base, so we want to make sure that we’re doing the absolute best job we can to help these girls live a healthy life,” Korolyova says of recreational programming.

The season finale for the recreational group was putting on an Alice in Wonderland performance in the auditorium at Sacred Heart Catholic High School.

The rhythmic gymnastics adaptation of the classic story was directed by Breanna Rich, while Sarah Dixon served as performer, costume coordinator and coach of the rec participants.

The club’s top athletes also participated in the show shortly after their national championships.

“We wanted to have everyone involved to highlight the athletes’ best skills and to show all the different streams in our club,” explains Korolyova. “It’s wonderful to bring everyone together on the same stage, and it just opens up the eyes for families to see what rhythmic gymnastics can potentially offer.”

The club is soaring competitively, too. Kanata gymnast Serena Nie won the senior open category at the Canadian Championships last month, while teammates Selena Pang, Keira Agnew, Silvia Yu, Leann Situ and Evangelia Sarlis also earned ribbons and medals for their strong performances.

Korolyova salutes her athletes for their perseverance through the pandemic.

“Those years probably made us stronger,” she reflects. “We didn’t give up then and now having the gym available, and these girls who were determined to continue, it made them stronger to strive for more and finally have the freedom to compete.”

The national-level athletes were bolstered by a trip to Portugal for their first international competition prior to the Canadians, which allowed them to develop a wider sense of the sport and build deep friendships.

There is another overseas trip on deck for a group of 21 athletes set to represent Kanata and Canada at the 2023 World Gymnaestrada from July 30-Aug. 5 in Amsterdam.

Many of those gymnasts recently concluded their competitive seasons last weekend at the Ontario Championships, producing many more highlights for the club to celebrate. That came on the heels of the June 3 Kanata Cup, an invitational event held for the first time since 2019.

“We were very excited to showcase our sport to our local community and to finally bring back the Kanata Cup,” underlines Korolyova, noting the club has its eye on hosting a provincial championships qualifier next season.

“We’ve had such a successful season,” she adds. “We want to thank all our wonderful coaches for their guidance, their dedication and their time, and all our families too.

“Everyone is extremely supportive, and ultra dedicated to keep the girls going and growing.”

Learn more about the Kanata Rhythmic Sportive Gymnastics Club at and learn more about upcoming summer camps opportunities in the article below:

Kanata Rhythmic Gymnastics summer camp can be the start of lifelong friendships & love of sport

Breanna Rich has been doing gymnastics all her life – she even went to the renowned École nationale de cirque to study aerial hoop and contortion – but some of her fondest memories stem from being a kid at summer camp.

That was when she got a fresh and exciting start to her rhythmic gymnastics journey, which has now led her back to coaching at her home Kanata Rhythmic Gymnastics Club. READ MORE…

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