Yukon gymnast performs through the pain

A year ago the plan was to send five Yukon gymnasts to compete at the Canada Winter Games. A month ago it was down to three. A few days ago it went down to one. Yukon was represented by just one gymnast in Prince George.


A year ago the plan was to send five Yukon gymnasts to compete at the Canada Winter Games.

A month ago it was down to three. A few days ago it went down to one.

Yukon was represented by just one gymnast in Prince George following a slew of injuries – and even she was injured as well.

Yukon’s Reena Coyne competed despite “serious” back spasms this week.

“The competition was fun. I got to compete against many people I aspire to, so that was super cool and I’m going to go home and tell all my friends that,” said Coyne. “The competition was just great.”

At 14 years old, Coyne was up against national-level gymnasts up to five years older. She place 34th out of 36 in artistic gymnastics on Tuesday.

“Reena had some serious back spasms from the day we got here, so it definitely made her beam and her vault very difficult,” said Yukon coach Catherine O’Donovan. “So it wasn’t exactly the meet we were hoping for, but I’m really proud of how hard she had to battle through that pain.”

Yukon teammate Emily King would have been among the youngest in the competition. But the 11-year-old fractured her foot during the team’s first practice in Prince George.

“She was doing a front layout full on floor, landed really low and her foot landed at an angle and the ligament was pulled so tight it pulled a chunk out of her bone,” said O’Donovan. “She might be out for eight weeks, so that’s a couple competitions possibly missed this year.”

It’s been a tough year for Yukon’s gymnastics team in terms of injuries. Multi-time Yukon champ Fayne O’Donovan decided to retire from competition following ongoing problems with nerve damage in her ankle. Megan Banks had problems with injuries before deciding to focus on coaching. Anisa Albisser broke a bone in her foot three weeks ago.

“Reena had her own personal goals to stay focused on,” said O’Donovan. “We came here trying to focus on what skills she had and hit those skills. We had the goal of not placing last on every event, aiming to beat P.E.I. …

and all the way through the competition we were kind of head-to-head with them. So I guess we achieved our goal that way.”

Coyne, who won a bronze at the 2012 Arctic Winter Games, finished Tuesday’s competition with all eyes on her. She was the last competitor on the beam just as all the other events – floor, vault and uneven bars – came to an end.

Everyone one in the stands was watching as she stuck her front tuck onto the beam, which she called her “glory moment.”

“It’s awesome. I love meeting new people and I made a whole bunch of new friends and it’s something I’ll never forget,” said Coyne. “It’s kind of the best week of my life. I’m making a bunch of new friends and I’m never going to forget it.”

Contact Tom Patrick at


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Willow Brewster, a paramedic helping in the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre, holds a swab used for the COVID-19 test moments before conducting a test with it on Nov. 24. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
An inside look at the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre

As the active COVID-19 case count grew last week, so too did… Continue reading

Conservation officers search for a black bear in the Riverdale area in Whitehorse on Sept. 17. The Department of Environment intends to purchase 20 semi-automatic AR-10 rifles, despite the inclusion of the weapons in a recently released ban introduced by the federal government, for peace officers, such as conservation officers. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Environment Minister defends purchase of AR-10 rifles for conservation officers

The federal list of banned firearms includes an exception for peace officers

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: The K-shaped economic recovery and what Yukoners can do about it

It looks like COVID-19 will play the role of Grinch this holiday… Continue reading

Jodie Gibson has been named the 2020 Prospector of the Year by the Yukon Prospectors Association. (Submitted)
Jodie Gibson named 2020 Prospector of the Year

Annual award handed out by the Yukon Prospector’s Association

A number 55 is lit in honour of Travis Adams, who died earlier this year, at the Winter Wonderland Walk at Meadow Lakes Golf Club in Whitehorse on Nov. 24. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
A new take on holiday traditions

Winter Wonderland Walk, virtual Stories with Santa all part of 2020 festive events in Whitehorse

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Colin McDowell, the director of land management for the Yukon government, pulls lottery tickets at random during a Whistle Bend property lottery in Whitehorse on Sept. 9, 2019. A large amount of lots are becoming available via lottery in Whistle Bend as the neighbourhood enters phase five of development. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Lottery for more than 250 new Whistle Bend lots planned for January 2021

Eight commercial lots are being tendered in additional to residential plots

The Government of Yukon Main Administration Building in Whitehorse on Aug. 21. The Canada Border Services Agency announced Nov. 26 that they have laid charges against six people, including one Government of Yukon employee, connected to immigration fraud that involved forged Yukon government documents. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Charges laid in immigration fraud scheme, warrant out for former Yukon government employee

Permanent residency applications were submitted with fake Yukon government documents

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Karen Wenkebach has been appointed as a judge for the Yukon Supreme Court. (Yukon News file)
New justice appointed

Karen Wenckebach has been appointed as a judge for the Supreme Court… Continue reading

Catherine Constable, the city’s manager of legislative services, speaks at a council and senior management (CASM) meeting about CASM policy in Whitehorse on June 13, 2019. Constable highlighted research showing many municipalities require a lengthy notice period before a delegate can be added to the agenda of a council meeting. Under the current Whitehorse procedures bylaw, residents wanting to register as delegates are asked to do so by 11 a.m. on the Friday ahead of the council meeting. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Changes continue to be contemplated for procedures bylaw

Registration deadline may be altered for delegates

Cody Pederson of the CA Storm walks around LJ’s Sabres player Clay Plume during the ‘A’ division final of the 2019 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament. The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28 in Whitehorse next year, was officially cancelled on Nov. 24 in a press release from organizers. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)
2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament cancelled

The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28… Continue reading

Lev Dolgachov/123rf
The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner stressed the need to safeguard personal information while shopping this holiday season in a press release on Nov. 24.
Information and Privacy Commissioner issues reminder about shopping

The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner Diane McLeod-McKay stressed the need to… Continue reading

Most Read