In the world of gymnastics even a fraction of a point counts. It takes years of hard work and hours of dedication to master the skills necessary to compete at the top. A slip here or a wobble there can mean the difference between standing atop the podium and going home empty-handed.
Such was the case for two local gymnasts, who competed this past weekend at the 2011 WAG Tour Selection qualification meet.
Delaney Stedman from Champions Gymnastics and Cassidy Connelly of the Kawartha Gymnastics Club finished second and third respectively with a total of five one hundredths of a point separating them.
Both were at the top of their game and placed high enough to earn the right to represent their club and Ontario at an international meet in Cancun, Mexico this coming January.
The meet, which was held in Base Borden from the 18-20 of November, selected the top 8 gymnasts in each of four levels. To be eligible for the team each competitor must be 13 within the competition year and compete in one of level 7, 8, 9 or National Open categories. Connelly and Stedman compete in the Level 7-13+ category.
Although both are making the team for the first time, the gymnasts are at different ends of the spectrum when is comes to experience at this event.
For Connelly,16, this was her fourth try at making the Tour Select team while Stedman,13, performed well enough in her first attempt to make her rookie appearance on the Ontario Squad.
In addition to their obvious skill, each of the girl’s coaches account their mental state going into the competition as the key to their performances and ultimately their qualification for the team. Both girls had strong routines in each of their four events, which would explain the close finish between the two competitors.
“This has been her goal for the last three years,” stated Connelly’s coach Becky Ansell “She was really focused and it showed.”
Connelly although missing the cut in each of the last three years has been the alternate for the last two years for the provincial team that competes at the East Nationals competition.
Champions Gymnastics head coach Marcel Rene, felt that the pressure of the new experience and being at such a high level event where the factors that attributed to Stedman’s performance.
“Delaney is a solid athlete and was a little stressed,” states Rene. “This forced her to be focused.”
This is the first time that the Ontario touring team will compete outside Canada or the United States. In previous years the team has traveled to Chicago, California and Florida for their competitions. Both athletes are ecstatic at the prospect traveling to such an exotic location to compete against some of the best gymnasts from around the world.
“I’m definitely excited and looking forward to the experience to represent my province,” says Connelly “and the fact that it’s in Cancun is just icing on the cake.”
Stedman echoes Connelly’s enthusiasm and like her teammate, looks forward to competing in such a high-profile event.
“I want to have fun and enjoy the experience,”
The 2012 Cancun Classic takes place in January and will see Team Ontario compete against teams from 5 other countries, including Brazil, Mexico and Venezuela. It will also give the opportunity for the girls to witness some of the best gymnasts from the NCAA, with 3 American Universities also taking part in the event.
In the mean time the girls will have some time to prepare. The two are now back to focusing on the upcoming provincial championship qualification meets coming up in early December.
For more information on the competition go to www.classicgymnasticseventsusa.com.