A tribute to Elisabeth Bureaud: July 21, 1955 – July 2, 2016

From 1986 to 1994 Elisabeth was the GCG Women’s National Development Coordinator and worked closely with WAG coaches and judges, as well as having a key role in the organization of the Canadian Championships. Between 1995 and 2000 Elisabeth remained active in gymnastics, continuing to coach, delivering NCCP courses, and taking on numerous administrative and volunteer roles at provincial and national levels. She was an experienced and active NCCP Theory and Technical course conductor and delivered coach training in every province and territory, supporting the development of thousands of young Canadian coaches.

In 2000, Elisabeth returned to GCG in the role of Director, Education Programs/National Development.  Her responsibilities focused on coaching education and the NCCP for all disciplines, and on Gymnastics for all — it is in these areas where Elisabeth has left her greatest legacy to gymnastics in Canada. She articulated and actively promoted the concept of Long Term Coach Development across Canada and the need for progressive and ongoing coach education programs that were designed specifically for teens and young adults.

World and Canadian Gymnaestrada participation has grown enormously due to Elisabeth’s efforts. Elisabeth had the vision to see the potential for Gymnaestrada in Canada as well as the ability to organize and manage a large team of participants. She was head of delegation for Canada at World Gymnaestradas in Portugal in 2003, in Austria in 2007, and in Switzerland in 2011. She was not able to travel to the 2015 Gymnaestrada in Finland, but she still managed many of the team details. With a Canadian team size of approximately 600 gymnasts, coaches, and supporters, and a management team of only 7 people, organizing a World Gymnaestrada team could be a daunting proposition, but Elisabeth absolutely made it work.

Elisabeth had a profound impact on gymnastics in Canada – as a coach and leader in coach education and the NCCP, as an administrative and technical leader at the local, provincial, national, and international levels, and as an educator and friend to gymnastics people everywhere. Elisabeth was one of those fortunate people who was able to live her passions of gymnastics, dance, music, and travel and to make them her life’s work.  Although as Elisabeth said – it isn’t work if you love what you do. She certainly did love what she did, and she lived doing what she loved.

BY: Cathy Haines, former Chief Technical Officer, Gymnastics Canada