Whitehorse’s Fayne O’Donovan got to meet Kyle Shewfelt under jubilant circumstances.
The member of Whitehorse’s Polarettes Gymnastics Club received a gold medal from the Canadian Olympian at the Kyle Shewfelt Festival of Gymnastics at University of Calgary over the weekend.
O’Donovan’s was the first gold won by Polarettes at the Shewfelt festival.
“We were really excited because it is such a big competition, it’s an international meet. It’s just huge,” said Polarettes head coach Catherine O’Donovan. “And she gets the medal handed to her by an Olympian.”
Fayne won the gold on the vault in Level 3A Novice. She completed a handspring full, the most difficult vault a gymnast can do in Level 3.
The 13-year-old won gold the previous weekend with the vault - a handspring with a 360 twist - at the On the Edge Invite in Airdrie, Alta.
She also won gold with it at the 2012 Arctic Winter Games and the B.C. Artistic Gymnastics Championships last year.
“She’s quite consistent with that vault, apparently,” said Catherine.
Fayne also tied for seventh on the uneven bars. She placed last overall in her division, unable to compete in the other two events because of an ankle injury.
“It sounds strange, but we were actually more excited about her seventh place finish on bars,” said Catherine. “The bars have been a tough one for her physically with her injury. This was the first time she completed her full bar routine to the best of her ability in almost a year.
“Her vault - we’re always excited about her gold, but it’s becoming her norm. We’re kind of used to it.”
Fayne was not the only Polarette to vault onto the podium at the Shewfelt festival.
Teammate Anisa Albisser tied for third on the vault for a bronze in Level 3 Tyro.
Albisser also placed eighth on the floor, 10th on the beam, to place eighth overall out of 18 gymnasts.
“She did amazing on vault,” said Catherine. “She’s in a big category, she’s new in Level 3. This was her first time competing Level 3 outside of Juneau - last weekend and this past weekend.”
Polarette’s Matisse Robertson had an interesting result in Level 2B Tyro. Robertson, who was Yukon’s Level 1 champion last year, placed last out of 37 gymnasts. However, she almost made the podium, tying for fourth on the vault.
She won a silver on vault the previous weekend in Airdrie.
“Vault is definitely that kid’s thing,” said Catherine. “I think these last two competitions will finally convince her of that. She hasn’t been convinced by her coaches, so hopefully now she’ll believe us.
“She has an amazing vault and to get fourth out of 37 is so great for her.”
Whitehorse’s Reena Coyne finished fifth on the vault and sixth on the floor for fifth overall in Level 3B Novice.
Teammates Caitlyn Venasse and Megan Banks competed in Level 3 Open. Venasse placed ninth overall with fifth on the floor and seventh on the vault. Banks placed 12th overall after tying for eighth on the vault.
Jasmine Bergeron competed in Level 2B Tyro with Robertson and placed 31st overall with 15th on the vault and tied for 18th on the bars.
Maggie Fekete placed 21st overall in Level 2B Tyro with 13th on the vault and 14th on the beam.
Robyn Poulter came 19th out of 27 competitors in Level 2 Novice. She tied for 11th on the bars for her best placement.
Emily King took ninth on the vault to place 27th out of 48 gymnasts in Level 2 Argo. She also tied for 14th on the beam and tied for 15th on the bars.
“All our girls did quite well,” said Catherine. “They came out and performed the way we were hoping. I feel like this will go a long way in helping their confidence and helping them grow as athletes.”
Canada’s Kyle Shewfelt won a gold medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics.
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