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Powell River Gymnastics athletes end season in style

Members of local club complete virtual competitions

After a blurry, incredible and unexpected pandemic year, Powell River Gymnastics’ season has come to an end.

“Our last virtual competition of the season allowed us to put all our competitive athletes on the field to represent our club and our Powell River community with honour,” stated club executive director Michele Dillon. 

The Ogopogo Invitational, held virtually around the COVID-19 pandemic and organized by the Okanagan Gymnastics Centre, took place from May 28 to June 6. It was the latest in a series of three virtual competitions the club participated in this season, which allowed athletes to stay active and motivated during the pandemic.

According to head coach Paulo Pena, after a season full of uncertainty and learning, the athletes managed to stay focused and bring great results that made the club proud of all their hard work and dedication, in addition to reaffirming all the work developed by the coaches and the entire team at Powell River Gymnastics and Circus Arts.

Ogopogo Invitational results were as follows:

Boys Level 1: Digory Van Tol, gold on floor, bronze on pommel horse, bronze on rings, gold on vault, silver on parallel bars, silver on high bar, silver all around.

Junior Olympic Level 1: Cora Pena, silver on vault, silver on bars, gold on beam, gold on floor, gold all around.

Junior Olympic Level 2: Kinsley Foster, silver on vault, gold on bars, silver on beam, gold on floor, gold all around; Xiya (Peggy) Liu, gold on vault, silver on bars, gold on beam, gold on floor, gold all around.

Junior Olympic Level 3 B: Melodie Ouellet, ninth on vault, fourth on bars, third on beam, 10th on floor, sixth all around.

Junior Olympic Level 3 A: Larissa Laing, ninth on vault; ninth on bars, third on beam, ninth on floor, eighth all around.

Junior Olympic Level 4 (2010-2012): Hadley Foster, second on vault, second on bars, first on beam, third on floor, second all around.

Junior Olympic Level 4 (2006-2009): Cheyenne Choo, sixth on vault, fifth on bars, sixth on beam, first on floor, second all around; Elise English, fourth on vault, third on bars, 14th on beam; sixth on floor, fourth all around.

Xcel Bronze (2004-2010): Arwyn Fretts, 15th on vault, 12th on bars, fifth on beam, second on floor, ninth all around; Summer Edison-Green, fifth on vault, sixth on bars, 13th on beam, seventh on floor, seventh all around; Piper Van Tol, first on vault, eighth on bars, 13th on beam, first on floor, fourth all around; Eliana Thoma, seventh on vault, first on bars, 12th on beam; third on floor, third all around.

Special awards

In addition to these amazing results, some Powell River Gymnastics athletes received special prize awards:

Piper Van Tol: Vigorous Vaulter Award (awarded to the athlete who shows the most powerful and dynamic vault). Judge’s comment: This gymnast really wows the crowd with their speed and height.

Cheyenne Choo: Elegance Award (awarded to the gymnast who really shows off their floor routine). Judge’s comment: Whether it’s original choreography or compulsory, her artistry shines through and engages the audience in her performance.

Cora Pena and Hadley Foster: Swing Big Award (awarded to the gymnast who performs their bar routine with virtuosity). Judge’s comment: The audience is impressed with casts, swings, circles, and dismounts that demonstrate power and amplitude).

Worth the wait

“In virtual competitions, like the ones we’ve had this season, prizes are mailed and take weeks or even months to reach us,” stated Dillon. “These are moments of anxiety for the athletes, which turn into beautiful smiles of joy and pride when receiving the long-awaited awards.

“Virtual competitions were essential and made all the difference for our athletes during the pandemic. We hope this was our last virtual competition, so the warmth of fans, family and friends may return to be part of our competitions again.”