Gymnastics took over the Tournament Capital Centre indoor track this weekend during the 2018 Kamloops B.C. Winter Games, showcasing the core strength and artistic flavour of hundreds of youth from across the province.
The athletes often made the sport seem effortless, throwing themselves across balance bars, flipping on beams and hitting flips with speed, all to garner a perfect score with the judges.
Most athletes spent both full days at the TCC gym — when they weren’t competing, they were practicing.
And the competition was tight, with a record number of athletes sharing a place on the podium due to a tie.
In the women’s beam, Kamloopsian Rebecca Wharton and Surrey’s Brooke Miller tied for bronze, while Burnaby’s Talya Pollak took gold and Jessie Keeley of Vancouver placed second.
In the women’s vault, Delta’s Ava Lappin and Nelson’s Dafni can Hellemond both celebrated gold victories, followed by Claire Pakulak of Surrey earning bronze.
And in men’s parallel bars, four Lower Mainland athletes celebrated medals. Ethan Ikeda of Mission placed gold, followed by Langley’s Blake Morfitt. In a three-way tie, Langley’s Owen Fielding, and Richmond pair Russell Woodward, Hunter Woodhead all celebrated bronze.
Ikeda earned first place in four of six events during this year’s Winter Games, moving one step forward to his aspirations to compete in the Olympics just like his dad, Richard, who represented Canada in the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games. Meanwhile, Richard’s brother, Ken, has also competed in the 2004 Athens Summer Games and Toronto Pan American Games in 2015.
But gymnastics is a large competition, spanning several days in larger games such as the Canada Games and Summer Olympics, due to the number of individual and team events.
In the men’s artistic team competition, Fraser Valley Zone 3 took the win, followed by Vancouver-Coastal Zone 5 in second and Fraser River Zone 4 in third.