Canton rhythmic gymnast wins international goldBy Canton Citizen
After making a name for herself with three gold medals at the rhythmic gymnastics national championships in June, 11-year-old Canton resident Erica Wu was recently invited to Germany to compete in the third Nuremberg International Championships, where she took home two gold medals, one for the individual event and the other for the all-around.
Wu’s teammate and friend Melissa Wong, also from Canton, had a strong showing at the international event, placing eighth overall.
The Nuremberg International was attended by hundreds of the top rhythmic gymnasts in the world, representing countries such as Russia, Ukraine, Italy, United States, Germany, Israel and Hungary.
Each athlete could attend only two events. Wu attended the hoop and ball exercises and turned in near-perfect performances in both events. Her scores were four points higher than the second place finisher, a gymnast from Russia. Wu’s coach, Varduhi Nahapetyan, was awarded “best trainer” by the competition committee.
Wu’s father, Dr. Robert Wu, has always encouraged his children to play sports. At age 6, Wu accompanied her older sister to the gym, where she was discovered by her current coach, Nahapetyan, who found her to be “excellent material” for rhythmic gymnastics.
She began her training at the New England Sports Academy in Westwood. Only six months later, she won her first all-around at an international competition in Boston, followed by numerous awards in the last five years, including either an individual or all-around gold medal at each of the past five national championships.
In 2009, Wu was invited by the Russian Federation to attend the Ruby International Competition in Moscow. She earned third place, while also winning the prestigious “Miss Grace” award.
In June 2011, she won three golds and one silver at the U.S. Junior Olympic National Championships held at the ESPN Worldwide Sports Complex in Disney World. She is also a National Junior Elite Team member and trained at the USA Olympic Training Center this past November.
Her mother, Amy Wu, said, “This is the best Christmas gift Erica could give to her family and her coach, and it’s the perfect ending for the year.”
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