By Ottawa Sports Pages, For Tumblers Gymnastics Centre
Ivy Clouden’s first taste of gymnastics came at summer camp, and there’s one thing she remembers most from that experience as a four-year-old.
“The foam pit,” she recalls, with a big smile.
Nowadays, Clouden’s flips are a lot more elegant and her landings plenty more precise, but the Tumblers Gymnastics Centre athlete loves competitive gymnastics just the same as she did flying carelessly onto a soft landing.
“I like it because you get to kind of show off,” Clouden says of performing at competitions. “I really like to show people what I can do. It just makes me happy. It’s really fun to do. You get to flip in the air and do a bunch of cool things. And then after people cheer for you. It’s just so much fun.”
Clouden was one of around 85 gymnasts from the host club who competed at the Tumblers Classic Candyland event from March 3-5 in Orleans. The Tumblers Classic welcomed nearly 400 athletes across all divisions, ranging from the Ontario Development Program up to the highest provincial level.
Held for the first time since 2020, the Classic gave local athletes the chance to compete in a provincial championships qualifier at their home gym.
“I like it because it’s my bars, and my beam, and my floor and my vault. I’ve trained on them and it’s easier,” highlights Clouden, who also enjoyed having the support of her family and teammates behind her.
Clouden placed third all-around in her Level 5, Ages 9-10 event, while Tumblers teammate Ivory Henderson topped the division.
“I like to compete. I don’t really like to compete against my friends, but I do still like to win,” Clouden smiles. “If I don’t win, I’m a little upset, but I’m still happy for them.”
Tumblers Women’s Artistic Gymnastics Head Coach Vanda Hadarean notes that athletes’ placings are not the key measure of success.
“It’s really about how you perform, because there are always going to be other gymnasts with you,” she underlines. “So it’s not about the score and the placing. It’s about how you improve from one competition to another.”
Hadarean has seen significant progress in her gymnasts in the past half-year in particular, since embarking on their first uninterrupted season in three years.
“We don’t want to blame COVID, but we will,” Hadarean indicates. “It does put them behind with that two years. In gymnastics, a week of no training can make a big impact already. Now it’s more consistent. Kids are not missing practices, and that’s what matters is consistency.
“There is a lot of learning during competitions as well because they learn how to deal with that nervous system.
“It’s great for them to get to compete at the Classic. It’s another level of experience for the kids, and when we host competitions at home, they are more supported by the crowd and their families.”
The home cooking tasted just right to many Tumblers, with a pile of gymnasts plucking places on the podium in their competitions.
Achieving first-place all-around results were Kensleigh Jodoin (Level 2, Age 11), Arij Hocine (L2, A12), Shanna Sterckx (L3, A10), Abigail Crookshank (L3, A14), Cassidy Farah (L4, A11), Sophie Cook (L4, A15), Henderson (L5, A9-10), Ella Mackey (L5, A12), Elisa Rinella (L6, A13) and Mariko Chartrand (Xcel Bronze, A18+).
Placing second all-around were Samantha Shilhan (L2, A9), Olivia Gilani (L3, A12), Rosalie Gratton (L5, A12), Claire Loyer (L5, A13), Balquis Chouikhi (L6, A16+), Amelia Mikovich (L7, A16+) and Sissi Malula (Xcel Bronze, A18+).
Finishing third all-around were Charlotte Shilhan (L2, A11), Isla Azar (L3, A12), Maya Dib (L3, A13), Chloe Gravelle (L4, A9), Micayla Collins (L4, A13), Aysiah Allen (L4, A14), Clouden (L5, A9-10), Sabrina Okwo Ebwil (L6, A13) and Alexandra Van Der Velden (L6, A16+).
“We’re very proud of all of our gymnasts,” signals Tumblers Interim General Manager Jimena Gravelle. “It takes time, but we have a great team and now it’s starting to show.”
Gravelle was grateful to the big crew of volunteers who helped run the Classic, with a considerably different cast of parents stepping forward since the last edition in 2020.
“They’re amazing. They’re tireless. They’ve really gone above and beyond in helping out to put together the event,” she highlights. “They come in at 6:30 in the morning and don’t leave until the last piece of paper is picked up, so we’re so thankful.
“We’re very excited to bring back the Classic. Despite all the struggles and all the rebuilding, it’s just so great to get together again.”