In the wake of a phenomenal fourth-place finish by the Canadian women’s gymnastics team at the London 2012 Olympics, Williams Lake Gymnastics Club coach Mike Stinson said his athletes are excited about the club’s upcoming competitive season.
The WLGC’s competitive team is the largest it’s been in recent years with four brand new members just starting in the club’s competitive program.
“We have new members, so we’re offering more female classes for our competitive team,” Stinson said. “We have a level one class, which is our beginners, so we’re able to start training them a bit earlier to get them ready for what’s coming in the future. We’re trying to make our team a bit stronger.”
The WLGC’s competitive team currently sits at 15 members. Stinson said everyone’s currently getting their skills and routines ready for the club’s first competitive meet Feb. 6-7 in Quesnel.
“We’re excited to start a new year,” he said. “We have a bigger team than we’ve had in years and we have some new, young faces so we’re just getting our skills down.
“Our new team members have to get new routines for all the events. One of my ex-gymnasts, Jamie MacPherson, she comes in and gets their floor routines ready for them. She volunteers her time, which is a big benefit to us.”
The club’s senior competitors are honing skills and getting routines perfected.
“We’re looking to have a good season this year,” Stinson said. “There’s higher expectations from our senior members of our team this year. We’ve set our goals for our club to be in high standings with our provincial system within the next couple of years and we have a couple of young athletes who are really able to do it.”
Stinson and the WLGC’s competitive team members said watching the Canadian team perform during this past summer’s Olympics was extremely motivational.
“They finished fourth — that’s higher than they have in history,” Stinson said. “They weren’t predicted to be in the top 20. They were expected to finish last. The big thing for me about that is the team was mainly B.C. kids. That’s saying a lot for B.C. gymnastics because normally it’s been kids from the east dominating the sport.”
The WLGC is also beginning to look for a new building to base out of, as it has started to outgrow its current location on Mackenzie Avenue.
“Every one of our classes is full,” Stinson said. “The building we’re in now is a great building, but we’re growing and we want to continue to grow. We are at more than 200 kids in our club right now. If we had room to fit more we would and a bigger facility would very much help.
“We’ve wanted to run a trampoline class here but our ceiling isn’t high enough. With trampoline being an Olympic sport now a lot of kids want to do it.
“If we want to keep strong athletes [in the club] we have to figure something out.”
For more on the WLGC visit its Facebook page by searching Williams Lake Gymnastics Club.