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  • Writer's pictureCanada West

Alberta Pandas 1988-91 (GYM | Team)

NAME: Alberta Pandas (1988-91)



SPORT: Gymnastics

CW Hall of Fame Class of 2023-24


  • Four-straight CIAU National Championships (1988-1991)

  • Four-straight Canada West Championships (1988-1991)

  • 4 National Coach of the Year Awards (1988, 1989, 1990, 1991)

  • 4 CIAU All-Around Champions (1988, 1989, 1990, 1991)

  • 4 CW All-Around Champions (1988, 1989, 1990, 1991)

  • 1 Bakewell Award Winner (1989 - Diane Patterson)

  • 1 UAlberta Female Rookie of the Year Award (1990 - Kim Shore)


Led by head coach Stephanie Bishop, who herself won four National Coach of the Year Awards, the Pandas were the class of university gymnastics in the late 80’s.

A trio of dynamic student-athletes led the way and have their names forever written in Pandas history. Dianne Rusnak (nee Patterson) was the 1988 National All-Around Champion and the 1989 Bakewell Trophy Winner as the most outstanding female athlete at U of A. Michelle Hannemann was twice named the National All-Around Champion, capturing the award in 1989 & 1991, and was also the Canada West All-Around Champion in 1988 & 1990, while Kim Shore was the 1990 National All-Around Champion and 1991 Canada West All-Around Champion.

While the team sported no shortage of great individual champions who were capable of jaw-dropping scores, the secret to the Panda Dynasty was truly about contributions from the entire team. To win team gold, every event and every athlete mattered – and the Pandas sported no weakness down the line.

Star gymnasts like Rusnak, Hannemann and Shore were bolstered by great performances and internal competition from teammates like Monica Kmech, Lisa Jefferies, Liane Yee, Michele Graham, Michelle Maltais, Shelly Stark, Debbie Galas, and Erin Heximer.

The 1988-91 Pandas Gymnastics team enjoyed a run of competitive dominance rarely seen in university sport. It was a type of success that lands at the feet of hard working, talented student athletes who love their sport to bits. They leave behind a championship legacy that will forever be etched in University of Alberta athletics history, as recognized by the team's induction into the University of Alberta's Sports Wall of Fame in 2022.


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