Gymnasts leap past expectations

The Yukon's gymnastics team went into the Arctic Winter Games with the goal of winning a medal in the team event, another in the individual competition and collecting some top-10 placements. It far surpassed those goals.

The Yukon’s gymnastics team went into the Arctic Winter Games with the goal of winning a medal in the team event, another in the individual competition and collecting some top-10 placements. It far surpassed those goals.

The team won four medals at the individual competition at Polarettes Gymnastics Club on Thursday. Two days earlier, it won bronze in the team event for the second straight Arctic Games.

“I’m just thrilled,” said Yukon head coach Catherine O’Donovan. “My girls had a great competition and Fayne had the meet of her life.

“It was a great comeback from her injury. We weren’t expecting such an awesome competition from her.”

After nearly being unable to compete because of a torn ligament in her ankle, the Yukon’s Fayne O’Donovan won four medals in the individual event.

Nailing her handspring full, Fayne won gold on the vault, scoring a 13.030. She also captured silver on the balance beam and bronze on floor.

With an eighth-place finish on the uneven bars, she took silver for the all-around competition.

With an overall score of 50.500, Fayne was just 0.099 behind the all-around gold medal winner Austen Fraser, from Alberta North.


“She’s very happy with her results and we all are because we weren’t expecting silver all-around at all,” said Catherine. “She was a little choked because after the first day of competition in the team event, we changed her floor routine because the judges gave us some feedback on one dance move … They were deducting for it.

“So we took it out, she practised it with it out. But when her music started, she went into robot mode and put it back in. And that was the difference … she would have got gold.”

Each of the other three Yukoners produced top-10 placements.

The Yukon’s Caitlyn Venasse, the other team member to compete in the 2010 Games, came sixth on the beam for strongest result. Teammate Reena Coyne was sixth on the uneven bars for her best finish.

The Yukon’s fourth gymnast, Kendra Peters, the youngest on the team at 10, was seventh on the vault for her best finish.

Venasse, Coyne and Peters placed 11th, 12th and 13th, respectively, in the all-around category.

“It was a big improvement this year,” said Catherine. “Our goal this year was to break some top-10s for sure and we had a goal of medal on vault for Fayne.

“We hit our goals and surpassed them, so we’re happy with that.”

Fayne O’Donovan competed at the 2010 Games, placing eighth out of 20 competitors in the individual competition for the her team’s best result. She also came first in Level 3 at last season’s Yukon Gymnastics Championships.

The same four Yukon gymnasts will be competing at the B.C. Open in Vancouver next month.

Contact Tom Patrick at

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