Whitehorse Daily Star

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FLIPPING FRENZY – Polarettes Gymnastics Club athlete Camille Belanger completes a somersault as part of the Flip for the Future fundraiser hosted by the club Nov. 25. The club raised over $7,000 for facility improvements.

Flipping toward the future and the AWG trials

The Polarettes Gymnastics Club is flipping toward the Arctic Winter Games trials, a sport now back in the Games after a hiatus in 2016.

By Dustin Cook on December 14, 2017

The Polarettes Gymnastics Club is flipping toward the Arctic Winter Games trials, a sport now back in the Games after a hiatus in 2016.

Tania Doyle, technical director for the Yukon Gymnastics Association, said a lot of the eligible athletes this year didn’t know gymanastics weren’t part of the last Games because of their age and the athletes that were eligible in 2016 have now moved on.

“It is a great opportunity for these kids,” Doyle said.

The trials will be held at the gymnastics club Jan. 14 and Doyle said it will run like a competition with the same four disciplines as in the Games.

“The top four all around scores will make the team and a fifth as an alternate,” Doyle explained.

The four events will be the vault, uneven bars, balance beam and floor routine.

At the Games, the competition will be broken into two days. The first day will consist of a tea competition with all four athletes competing in all four disciplines resulting in an overall team score with the top three scores used in each event.

The following day is the individual competition with all athletes again performing routines in each of the four elements and these scores will go towards the individual all-around competition as well as the individual event finals.

Different than most other sports at the Games, there is only one division of junior female for the sport open to athletes born 2000 or later.

Doyle said the gymnastics club has a median age of around 12 to 13 and so the team will likely be younger than some of the other teams.

Also, athletes could be restricted based on the level of competitions they have entered in the past. Polarettes athlete Emily King, recently named Athlete of the Year by the club at the Sport Yukon Awards, isn’t eligible for the Games because she has already participated at a level higher than the Games allows.

Megan Banks, a competitive coach for the club, said King will make her competition debut for the season in March at an international competition in Montreal.

Banks said the first competition for most of the team will be earlier in the season in January with about 19 athletes heading to Calgary for the Ed Vincent Invitational.

Those who make the Games team will stay in Calgary for three days longer, Banks explained, and go through a training camp under head coach Kimberly Jones.

The club recently held their annual fundraiser at the end of November, the Flip for the Future event which hosted about 70 participants from the ages of four to 43, Banks said who was the main organizer for the event.

This is the first year of adult participation, Banks said, and they had four adults somersaulting and showing off their cartwheels in the 45-minute challenge.

“They were shocked at how many they could actually do, it went really well,” Banks said. “They enjoyed themselves and will probably do it next year as well.”

The annual fundraiser is geared toward building a better gym for the club and Banks said the money raised will go to new equipment for safe training to replace outdated equipment.

The first thing they hope to do is replace the floor which is worn and has been in place since 2001, Banks said.

Held in different categories by age division, the fundraiser consisted of a 15-minute warm-up followed by three 15-minute rounds of cartwheels and somersaults with a five-minute break in between each set.

Prizes were awarded in each age category for most skills completed in 45 minutes and most funds raised.

At the end of the fundraiser, Banks said they raised over $7,000 to go toward the gym improvements after raising $6,000 at last year’s event.

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