Two Whistler gymnasts, 13-year-old Alex Rusimovich and 15-year-old Nicola Bennett, know they have their work cut out for them this weekend as they compete for the opportunity to represent the Vancouver-Squamish Zone at the upcoming B.C. Winter Games.
Only the top three gymnasts from each zone in each competitive category will get to go to the games based on their combined results on the uneven bars, vault, floor and beam at the Flicka Gymnastics Club in North Vancouver on Saturday.
"They know its a long shot," said Whistler Gymnastics coach Karin Jarratt. "There are 50 kids competing for three spots, and the other kids are coming from clubs with full-time gymnastics facilities and almost double the amount of training time.
"They have to be consistent on everything to make it into the top three, you cant have one bad event or youre pretty much out of contention."
Whistler Gymnastics, which has the highest per capita enrolment in the province with 130 tumblers, shares the Myrtle Philip Community Centre with a number of other sports, and the equipment is taken down after classes.
Nevertheless, the club has had moderate success in provincial and zone competitions in the past, and has improved steadily.
One former member of the club, Whistlers Rikka Tindle, moved to the Flicka club to advance her abilities. She currently represents B.C. at the national level and is a leading candidate for the junior national team.
"This is the first time Whistler Gymnastics has had athletes close enough to the calibre of ability to compete in the games, and it will be a good experience for the girls," said Jarratt. "We generally compete in smaller events, so this is a big step for us."
Whistler Gymnastics competitive season begins at the end of January and runs until June. The clubs programs are full, with the exception of a Saturday morning Springers recreational program for kids aged 6 to 9. To join this program contact Catou Crookshank at 604-905-1913.
The B.C. Winter Games take place from Feb. 21 to 24 in Williams Lake, and will feature thousands of athletes in 24 different sports, from alpine skiing to hockey.