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A Living Legend


Perhaps no other person has impacted rhythmic gymnastics in Canada more than Evelyn Koop, a woman who has passionately dedicated her life to the sport.

Still going strong in her 91st year. Evelyn is known as the Canadian “Godmother” of Rhythmic Gymnastics, as she was instrumental in developing and nurturing the sport here. As well, she was a tireless and successful advocate for having it accepted as an Olympic sport.

In 1951 she started rhythmic gymnastics in Ontario – then called “modern gymnastics”. She formed the organization, now Gymnastics Ontario, in 1968 and became the Canadian Rhythmic Gymnastics president in 1970. In 1971 for the first time ever Canadian rhythmic gymnasts competed in the World Championships, (in Cuba), and it was Evelyn’s team that achieved this honour.

Perhaps no other person has impacted rhythmic gymnastics in Canada more than Evelyn Koop, a woman who has passionately dedicated her life to the sport.

Still going strong in her 91st year. Evelyn is known as the Canadian “Godmother” of Rhythmic Gymnastics, as she was instrumental in developing and nurturing the sport here. As well, she was a tireless and successful advocate for having it accepted as an Olympic sport.

In 1951 she started rhythmic gymnastics in Ontario – then called “modern gymnastics”. She formed the organization, now Gymnastics Ontario, in 1968 and became the Canadian Rhythmic Gymnastics president in 1970. In 1971 for the first time ever Canadian rhythmic gymnasts competed in the World Championships, (in Cuba), and it was Evelyn’s team that achieved this honour.

During her career Evelyn has received numerous awards and recognition, locally, nationally, and internationally. Just one example, in 1991 Evelyn Koop began “The World’s Best” – an international invitational competition that the Canadian Gymnastics Federation later renamed the “Koop Cup”, in her honour.

This competition was developed by Evelyn to give Canadians an opportunity to achieve higher honours at the World Championships, by allowing them to compete in their own backyard and be motivated and inspired by the world’s best. Travelling to other countries to compete is not possible for many gymnasts, and so Evelyn brought the world to us.

In 2022 Evelyn Koop, President & Program Director of Kalev Estienne Rhythmic Gymnastics Centres is celebrating not only 21 years of the Koop Cup International, but 70 years with her club forever changing rhythmic gymnastics in Canada.

We are thrilled to be welcoming top athletes from around the world.

There are now 13 countries and over 650 gymnasts confirmed to perform at the 2022. Koop Cup! 

We’re looking forward to seeing you April 28 to May 1st, 2022, at the Markham Pan Am Centre.

For more information or an interview call Evelyn Koop

(905) 889-7889


Competition dates April 28 – May 1. Admission $20 (adult). Admission $10 (children and seniors) 
Location: Markham Pan Am Centre, 16 Main Street, Unionville, L3R 2E4

Countries: ARG. CAN. EST. FIN. FRA. GBR. HKG. JPN. MEX. NOR. NZL. SRI. USA. 


Honours bestowed on Evelyn Koop
Estonian Central Council (EKN) Award, Silver Star Award
1968 – Founding Member Ontario Rhythmic Gymnastics Federation
1968 – Sport’s Federation of Canada “Donald King Memorial” Award
1969 – Founding Member Ontario Rhythmic Gymnastics Federation
1971 – Government of Ontario Achievement Award
1972- Government of Ontario Achievement Award
1972 – Ontario Place Award
1974 – Government of Ontario Achievement Award
1974 – Finland’s Women’s Sports Award
1976 – Member of the Federation International de Gymnastique (FIG)
1977 – Queen Elizabeth 25th Jubilee Award
1977 – Air Canada Sports Executive of the Year Award
1978 – FIG Medal for Achievement (for introducing the sport to China)
1980 – Gymnastics Canada Life Member
1980 – Honorary Member of the Federation International de Gymnastique (FIG)
1982 – Gymnastics Canada Life Member
1982- Honorary Member Canadian Gymnastics Federation Citation (four Continents Champion Honour)
1985 – Governor General of Canada Award
1988 – Canadian Rhythmic Gymnastics Federation Citation (four Continents Champion Honour)
1988 – Ontario Rhythmic Gymnastics Federation, Recognition Award
1991 – Gymnastics Ontario Key Builder Award
1991 – City of Toronto Proclamation declares June 14, 1991 Rhythmic Gymnastics Day
1992 – Commemorative Medal, 125th Anniversary, Confederation of Canada
1993 – Province of Ontario, Service Award for Dedication and Commitment to Sport
1993 – Ontario Gymnastics Federation, Builder Award
1998- Sports Federation Award
1998 – FIG Honorary Diploma (for distinguished service as an International Judge)
2001 – Kalev 100 Year Start Award, Government of Estonia
2006 – Gymnastics Canada Rhythmic Gymnastics Program Awards 2006 since renamed the “Evelyn Koop Rhythmic Gymnastics Program Award”
2007 – President’s Award, Republic of Estonia
2007 – Ontario Government Volunteer Service Award
2007 – Ministry of Citizenship Award
2008 – Gold Start Award, Russian Federation of Aesthetic Group Gymnastics
2016 and 2017 – Award to recognize individuals who have made a significant difference to the community, from Mayor Frank Scarpitti and Council, City of Markham
2017 – Dr. Gene Sutton Memorial Award
2018 – Mayor Scarpitti – Markham – recognition for a successful Koop Cup
2019 – Lifetime Achievement Award, Toronto Sports Hall of Honour


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