They’re a bit battered, maybe a bit bruised, but Team NT’s gymnasts are still fighting on at the Canada Winter Games in Red Deer, Alta.
They have the all-around competition today beginning at 3:30 and three of the team – Jade Ko, Lindsey Woodford and Emma Leathem – will be in action looking to nail down good scores and be in the hunt.
John Tram, the team’s coach, said the trio qualified through the team competition this past Sunday.
“The top three scores from the team made it through,” he said.
Five gymnasts were supposed to compete in the team competition but that was whittled down to four after Nathalie Shafer ended up injuring her leg in the warm-ups, ending her Canada Winter Games experience before it even began.
“She had a bad landing and she went for an MRI and X-rays to see what damage, if any, had been done,” said Tram.
As of Tuesday morning, Tram said there was still no word on how serious the injury was but other teams had been asking how Shafer was holding up.
But Shafer’s injury didn’t affect the team at all during the team competition, he added.
“They all showed great resilience,” he said. “There were a couple of mistakes out there but they bounced back from that and I’m very pleased with that they were able to refocus and regroup on the job at hand.”
The girls ended up finishing 11 th overall in the team competition.
With the all-around event coming up this afternoon, Tram said the girls are still jittery but it’s a good kind of jittery.
“It’s all normal nerves athletes get before a big competition,” he said. “You don’t want to get too nervous, though, because Sunday was just one day and now it’s a new competition so they had a chance to get it out of their system and get going.”
One thing Tram has been proud of was the performance of Leathem, who managed to pull off something that had never been done before by a female gymnast from the NWT.
“She performed double-backs (somersaults) on the (uneven) bars and on the floor,” he said. “No female gymnast had ever successfully done that until now and she even managed to nearly stick the landing. That was impressive.”
This is the first full girls team the territory has ever sent to the Games and it’s the first time there’s been a NWT gymnast of any kind at the Games since Zack Sullivan of Yellowknife represented the NWT on his own at the 2011 event in Halifax.
Tram was part of the last full male team to attend the Games back in 1999 and he said his experience at the Games has helped him to share what to expect about the experience.
“I had a lot of fun back then and I want the girls to have fun out there as well,” he said. “I’ve been giving them advice on what to focus on and they’ve all listened to that. I just like helping out wherever I can and I like seeing the girls do well.”