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Terrace gymnastics swings first international competition

Nine girls from Peak Gymnastics will be going to Hawaii
Nine girls from Terrace Peaks Gymnastics will be going to Hawaii in January for their first international competition (Natalia Balcerzak/Photo)

While everyone is putting on snow tires and digging out their snowboards, there’s a few that are keeping out their sunscreen.

The Terrace Peaks Gymnastics Club will be somersaulting into Oahu, Hawaii as they set out for their first ever international competition this upcoming January.

“I’m excited to compete outside of the country because we’ve never done anything close to this big before,” says Carissa, 12.

She will be one of the nine girls, aging from 7 to 14, representing Canada at the 43rd annual Aloha Gymfest from Jan. 18 to 21. The event will also include young gymnasts from the UK, Australia, Japan, Guam and the USA.

But this isn’t the first time for everybody. Their coach, Karl McPherson, trained three other teams before that competed at the Aloha Gymfest. He says it’s a great way to see the world through gymnastics.

“The club is growing and I think it’s something that we need to realistically let our kids know that this is an option,” says McPherson. “When you’re in a small zone like this and you’re competing with the same people overtime, you don’t really see where you fit into the big picture.”

Although it took three years to be given approval to participate in the leagues, the club has been a step ahead with providing nutrition, yoga and judging workshops to help decrease stress levels. Weekly training takes up to 20 hours and can be tiring when the gymnasts are going to school full-time.

By taking two afternoons off a week from classes, McPherson says this helps them from performing at a fatigue level. “They’re a little more fresh when they leave school and have lunch - with this type of production, you have to be careful with them.”

Emma, 9, says that gymnastics has been a lot of work but it makes her happy. She says she hopes to try scuba-diving when she’s in Hawaii, but is nervous that “it will be too hot.”

The club, with the help of The Skeena Bar, will be holding a fundraiser event at the Terrace Sportsplex on Nov. 17 to help spring the athletes across the ocean. Tickets are $10 each.


* This story has been corrected since publication: McPherson coached three times at the Aloha Gymfest, not competed *

(Natalia Balcerzak/Photo)
(Natalia Balcerzak/Photo)
(Natalia Balcerzak/Photo)
(Natalia Balcerzak/Photo)
(Natalia Balcerzak/Photo)
(Natalia Balcerzak/Photo)
(Natalia Balcerzak/Photo)