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Teresa Orr, National Team Director of Rhythmic Gymnastics presented Evelyn Koop with the Gene Sutton Memorial Award. Her words of kindness are below;
I just experienced “Déjà vu”!
“Why do I feel that the moment I am in right now has happened before?”
Well, it just so happens that in 2006, Rhythmic became part of the GCG Awards Gala & there I was honoring Evelyn Koop with the inaugural RG Program Award, named of course after her. She received her Diamond Pin that year & in 2013 she became a GCG Life Member recognizing her long time and I mean “long time” service to the Federation.
So here I am privileged once again to recognize this distinguishing, extravagant woman.
Rhythmic Gymnastics in Canada simply would not be if it were not for the efforts of Evelyn Koop, known by many as the “godmother” of RG. You just need to look at the Kalev Estienne website and you will find 65 years of highlights from bringing the sport of RG to Canada, developing World & Olympic gymnasts to hosting Provincial, National and International Events.
Evelyn Koop, the founder & President of Kalev Estienne, has been involved as a gymnast, coach, performer, choreographer, educator, author, administrator, judge, event manager and most importantly …remains as one of the major promoters of Rhythmic Gymnastics in Canada and volunteer extraordinaire!
There is so much information to share with you about Evelyn but unfortunately 65 years is a challenge to culminate in a few minutes so I will do my best to provide the highlights.
In her early years, Evelyn taught Physical Education courses in Rhythmic Gymnastics at the Universities of Toronto, McMaster & McGill. She authored books “Basic Rhythmics” and “Judging”, developed Technical Manuals, By-laws, and Constitutions.
She has trained many teachers and coaches and created awareness of RG through endless touring with her gymnasts throughout Canada and the United States. I was fortunate as a young artistic gymnast to have Evelyn come to our club to assist with upper body movement for beam & floor.
In 1968, Evelyn along with a few others formed the Modern Gymnastics Federation and later the Canadian Rhythmic Sportive Gymnastics Federation.
1971 was the year Evelyn received international standing as a judge and was awarded a Brevet 2. She was also a member of the FIG RG Technical Committee. From 1976 to 1980, and in 1998 she was awarded the FIG Honorary Diploma “in recognition of her long –term distinguished service as an International Judge atthe World Level”. 1976 proved to be a busy year. Evelyn was the lead choreographer for the opening Ceremonies of the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal. Evelyn worked hand in hand with Juri Titov, President of FIG and others to get RG accepted as an Olympic Sport. 1976 was also the year she initiated “The Maple Leaf” International Meet which was held for four consecutive years. In 1978 she created the Pan Pacific Championships, which later became the Four Continents Championships. These events were created with one main goal in mind…to give Canadian rhythmic gymnasts the opportunity to experience international competition.
For the same reason, Evelyn introduced “The World’s best” International Invitational competition in 1991 which was later named by the federation as “Koop Cup” in Evelyn’s honour.
Evelyn has recruited many world-renowned coaches & judges which helped spearhead the development of RG in Canada. Tamara Bompa, originally from Romania and brought over as a coach, judged for Canada at six Olympic Games. Liliana Dimitrova from Bulgaria took gymnasts to 3 Olympic Games & more recently Janika Moelder from Estonia. RG became an official sport at the Olympic Games in 1984. BC gymnast Lori Fung, a former member of Kalev was crowned the Olympic Champion. The second gymnast, Adrienne Dunnet was also from Kalev. Representing Kalev at the 1996 Olympics was Camille Martins and in 2000 Emilie Livingston. As you can see Evelyn was responsible for producing a lot of firsts. In 2010, it was the Kalev Junior Group that represented the America’s at the first Youth Olympic Games and captured the Bronze medal. The group became part of the Olympic Games in 1996. The Senior group from Kalev made history qualifying Canada to their first Olympic Games in London 2012. One first that Evelyn may not want me to mention but I will – Evelyn was the first National judge to arrive at Elite Ontario one year wearing two different shoes. Different colours & different heal heights. Evelyn – I checked your shoes tonight and you are good to go!
Last year, Evelyn Koop President & Program Director of Kalev Estienne celebrated their 65th anniversary promoting Rhythmic Gymnastics in Canada & her club. Kalev continues to host Provincial, National & International Events. This year alone, Kalev under the management of Evelyn Koop hosted Slonny Cup international invitational, Elite Canada & the famous Koop Cup FIG event. She even gets the Mayor of Markham to come out to these events to help present awards. Evelyn has always been passionate about growing the sport so that all Canadians can participate and learn about the beautiful sport of Rhythmic Gymnastics. Evelyn deserves recognition for her continuous commitment and energy in exposing Canadian gymnasts to International Competition in Canada. Many of her former gymnasts are still with her as coaches, in her performance groups, as staff or return as dedicated volunteers that assist with the hosting of her successful events.
I know that Gene will be smiling down and giving us the thumbs up with her approval just as we are!
Congratulations Evelyn on receiving the Gene Sutton Memorial Award.
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KALEV TRIAL CLASSES ARE COMING
Monday - 5:30 to 7:30 pm Beginners
Tuesday - 5:30 to 7:30 pm Beginners
Thursday - 5:30 to 7:30 pm Beginners
This program is offered only at our Doncaster Location - 60 Doncaster Ave., Unit #7, Thornhill
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