By KIPP NASH
Salt Spring’s finest gymnasts woke up from a long slumber on Jan. 29 to rise and shine and pile into the car and drive up to Comox to compete in their pajamas.
In their second year of attending the Comox Valley Chimo Gymnastics Pajama Meet, this year the club jumped on the chance to try out their new skills that they have dedicated the last four months to developing. All of the athletes attending radically improved from last year’s performance and wowed the competition with all-star performances.
To start the competition, Nikoya Catry Bauer did not wobble on the beam and was inspired to lead the team in a near perfect routine. The tone was set and each of the four athletes took turns leading the team on the individual events.
Next on the super springy floor, Salt Spring debuted its contemporary piece that shook the foundation of instrumental Disney movie music to the core. Beyonce’s instrumental to “Foundation” put hot sauce on the floor and all the athletes competed front tucks and back handsprings. It was a major milestone in the development of the program. With near perfect timing, Isabelle Kerrigan topped the floor event with a gold medal performance.
With the first two nerve-racking events out of the way, beam and floor, the vault held the promise of flying through the air and sticking the landing to run away and try it again. It’s always the athletes’ easiest event to compete in because of its straightforward nature.
This time saw a very aggressive run by Kumi Nash that had to emerge to overcome a tall vault for a small frame. Kumi ran like she was chased by a thousand tigers and pounded the beat board only to hurdle over the gaping jaws of crocodiles to land swiftly on the other side with hardly a step sidewards. It was good enough to save her life in Africa or secure a silver medal from the judges.
The Salt Spring team rotated to the hardest event last. Only the truly brave have a bar routine and these fine young ladies proved their courage taking on the bars and making the best effort they could.
Everyone had skills to worry about to perform on the bars, but none more than Nina de Roo. Nina balked her tuck on her practice rounds and could only muster a jungle gym climb on, until it was time to compete. Surprising herself, her parents and her coaches, she executed a tuck on what would have seen an escape from any federal penitentiary, but she carried on as if she invented the uneven bars. Nina was all smiles upon landing and I expect if you see Nina around she will still be smiling.
If you see Isabelle Kerrigan, Nikoya Catry Bauer, Kumi Nash or Nina de Roo, let them know that they are doing a great job of representing Salt Spring and all the gymnasts that call the Fulford Hall — AKA the Big Red Gymnastics Barn — home.
The second half of the gymnastics season has begun, but it’s still possible to sign up for the recreational programs that run from Wednesday to Friday. More information is at www.saltspringgymnastics.org.