–-By Ottawa Sportspage, For Kanata GymnoSphere
Athletes in Kanata GymnoSphere’s competitive program bravely put their best foot forward for the judges and picked up a pile of prizes this season, but come the year-end GymnoFest show on June 22, smiles and giggles ruled the day.
Instead of obeying coaches’ commands, gymnasts were given the chance to come up with their own demos for GymnoFest.
“It’s a whole lot of fun,” highlights Lauren Mooney, Kanata GymnoSphere’s Competitive Program Manager. “We’ve been going hard all year in competition season. Now there’s no stress. They just get to perform for their family and friends, who are such a big part of their success too.
“Without their parents bringing them to competitions, getting them to training, preparing late-night dinners and all that, they wouldn’t be here.”
The dedication from all involved certainly bore fruit this season. Every athlete from Level 3 through 10 qualified for the Ontario Championships this year.
“It’s amazing to see kids come in not really having much competitive experience go on into provincials,” notes Mooney, whose competitive ranks more than doubled in size this year to roughly 75, as more and more families gravitate to the Hazeldean Rd. club that continues to grow in popularity.
The competitive crew features provincial and Eastern Canadian champions at the higher levels of the sport, while others are just beginning their journeys in the competitive side of the sport.
“It’s really inspiring for the younger ones to have great role models here to look up to,” signals Mooney. “We have quite a few younger gymnasts who are pushing to be just like them, if not better.”
It takes a lot of commitment to excel – the athletes train most days of the week, even when they’re not feeling 100%, and their coaches manage their programs, and work on injury prevention, new skill development and refining the basics.
“GymnoFest is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the progress they’ve made and all the work they’ve put in this season,” Mooney adds. “We’re so proud of everyone’s efforts and accomplishments this year, and we’re looking forward to seeing them grow even more in the future.”