The eight gymnasts who represented the Yukon at the International Gymnix 2020 pose for a photo. (Submitted/Polarettes Gymnastics Club)

Polarettes gymnasts reach new heights at the International Gymnix 2020

“They came out more motivated and inspired than ever”

It was a busy weekend of accomplishment and inspiration for eight Yukon gymnasts at the International Gymnix 2020 held March 4 to 8 in Montreal.

The meet, held for the 29th time, included representatives from the Polarettes Gymnastics Club in its field of gymnasts from across the country and around the world.

Stephanie Caron, developmental director for the Polarettes, said the competition was a success for the club.

“I think that the competition went great,” said Caron. “Our girls went out with some goals and the majority of them hit their goals and came out with more results than just ribbons and medals — they came out more motivated and inspired than ever.”

The eight gymnasts from the Yukon were split between two Junior Olympic levels, with two competing at JO 8 and six competing at JO 6.

Leading the way for the Polarettes was Amelie Guilbeault who picked up a third place medal after a strong performance on the uneven bars. Guilbeault also placed eighth on vault, sixth on beam, 19th on floor and seventh all-around.

“That was a pretty big moment for her,” said Caron. “Being her coach, (it was) one of those moments where you are just so proud of the kid.”

Caron said the result left Guilbeault inspired and ready to work even harder, and added that it was impressive to have so many Polarettes perform well in all their events.

“We had so many kids hit all four events, which is really rare in the gymnastics world,” said Caron, explaining the gymnasts took no major deductions or falls on most of their events. “From a coaches’ standpoint, we ask the kids to go out there and show their best gymnastics. For them to go out and hit all four events was pretty big. (Head coach Kimberly Jones) and I, we’re pretty proud of the girls.”

Olivia Vangel was competing in the same JO 6 session on March 6 as Guilbeault, finishing ninth on vault, seventh on uneven bars, 25th on beam, ninth on floor and 22nd all-around.

Adria Gallina and Sabrina Hartland both competed in the same JO 6 session on March 5. Gallina finished 14th on vault, fifth on uneven bars, seventh on beam, 15th on floor and ninth all-around. Hartland was 16th on vault, eighth on uneven bars, 12th on beam, sixth on floor and 10th all-around.

Mackenzie Tonner also competed in a JO 6 session on March 5. Tonner was 17th on vault, seventh on uneven bars, 14th on beam, seventh on floor and 13th overall.

Rounding out the JO 6 results was Camille Belanger who competed on March 6. Belanger finished 10th on vault, 14th on uneven bars, 21st on beam, eighth on floor and 15th all-around.

Lily Witten competed in a JO 8 session on March 7 and Maude Molgat competed in a different JO 8 session on March 8. Witten finished seventh on vault, 13th on uneven bars, 16th on beam, 16th on floor and 12th all-around. Molgat was seventh on vault, ninth on uneven bars, sixth on beam, 11th on floor and eighth all-around.

Caron said one of the highlights of the meet was the Senior Cup and Junior Cup, two evening programs where gymnasts with Olympic aspirations competed with the Polarettes in attendance.

“One of the really cool things about this competition is because it is international and so large, they actually host many Olympic hopefuls,” said Caron. “We didn’t have the really big Canadian names, but the girls knew who most of them were. … To be able to be competing at the same competition as these athletes, I think for a lot of our small-town Whitehorse kids is amazing. They don’t get to see that kind of stuff all that often.”

The experience served as inspiration for Caron, too.

“Even as a coach, it changes your motivation and enthusiasm about training,” said Caron. “That’s kind of one of the big highlights … to go and see all this international gymnastics. People do things differently and have different approaches to things and it’s a pretty neat experience for coaches and athletes.”

Contact John Hopkins-Hill at john.hopkinshill@yukon-news.com

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