Whitehorse Daily Star

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GOLDEN GYMNASTS – The Polarettes Gymanstics Club won 25 medals at their first meet of the season in Calgary including seven gold. (Left to right) Coac

New routines land Polarettes on the podium

It was the first competition of the season for the Polarettes Gymnastics team

By Dustin Cook on February 1, 2018

It was the first competition of the season for the Polarettes Gymnastics team and competing in new levels and with new routines, they landed their performances to 25 medals.

Competing at the Ed Vincent Invitational in Calgary, 19 members of the team participated in varying levels from Junior Olympic (JO) level 3 to 8.

Polarettes head coach Kim Jones said it was an overwhelming success for the girls as it was their first taste of competitive gymnastics this season.

“It’s the first time they have competed since June,” Jones said from Calgary with the team arriving back in Whitehorse late Wednesday night. “We’ve been upgrading routines and learning new skills up until this point.”

That is why the 25 medals – 10 on the first day alone – was a resounding success for the team.

“They did amazing. You really don’t know what to expect when you’re competing in new levels in a new season because you haven’t seen the competition since June. Everyone was always a little more nervous for the first meet of the season,” Jones said. “To start our season on that note was very exciting.”

At the JO 8 level, the Polarettes highest-level competitor Bianca Berko-Malvasio won gold in the all-around competition.

The gymnast was consistent in all four individual elements taking the silver medal on the balance beam and it paid off in the top overall finish.

Jones said this result was particularly special because of Berko-Malvasio’s road to the competition.

“It was a pretty spectacular moment,” Jones said. “Her story is interesting as she hasn’t competed in an Outside competition in over a year due to a back injury.”

Berko-Malvasio was set to return last March in Calgary, Jones noted, but she broke her foot before the competition.

With a stomach full of nerves and all new routines, Berko-Malvasio’s return to competition was triumphant taking two medals.

With a total of seven gold medals at the competition, the Polarettes also thrived on the balance beam winning two gold medals from Ella Paldy in the JO 6 division and Maude Molgat in JO 7 with Sasha Kozmen finishing right behind in second spot.

Jones credits this success on the beam to a visit from a gymnastics judge to the Polarettes gym who gave slight suggestions on changing the beam choreography that could increase the scores.

So – not something she decides to do often, Jones flagged – they decided to change the beam choreography a week before the competition. And it paid off in spades.

“We decided it was in the best interest to do that and I think our best event was beam,” Jones said. “We saw success because of her recommendations.”

After the competition, the team stayed in Calgary for an Arctic Winter Games camp to prepare the athletes for the event in March.

They trained out of the Altadore Gymanstics Club in Calgary where the head coach actually competed in the AWG in the past and was able to provide pointers for the first-time athletes.

The team from Fort McMurray also came down for the training camp and they will be representing Alberta North at the AWG.

But before the Games in N.W.T, seven Polarettes will be heading to Montreal a week before to compete in the Gymnix International competition.

Polarettes Hailey Sherman and Emily King also made the trip down to Calgary with the team, but instead of competing at the invitational took part in a high-performance training camp at the Calgary Gymnastics Centre where they had the chance to work alongside national gymnastics team members.

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