Community Clubs Gymnastics

Coaching experience helped inspire rhythmic gymnast to study to become a teacher

By Mark Colley

Sarah Dixon has experienced just about everything the Kanata Rhythmic Gymnastics Club has to offer. She’s loved her journey in the sport since she started at age four and she’s carrying a large collection of lessons and memories forward into the next stage of her life as she graduates from high school.

Sarah Dixon (left) competed in provincial aesthetic group gymnastics in recent seasons. Photo: Dan Plouffe

Dixon debuted in the recreational program at Kanata Rhythmic Gymnastics, then switched to interclub and finally the provincial program, where she competed in aesthetic group gymnastics (or AGG for short).

After nearly a decade and a half in the sport, training 10 hours a week and travelling around the world to compete in international gymnaestrada events, Dixon is hanging up her shoes, balls, hoops and clubs.

But as she finishes Grade 12 at A.Y. Jackson Secondary School and heads to Bishop’s University in the fall, what she’s learned from rhythmic gymnastics isn’t leaving her.

The rigorous training schedule has taught her time and stress management, and all those hours with the club has led to deep friendships. Most of all, gymnastics has opened up the world of coaching and teaching, which she will pursue at Bishop’s with a bachelor of education.

“I like working with kids and teaching,” Dixon underlines. “Coaching’s very similar, so I enjoy it and I’ve always wanted to [do it].”

Dixon served as a coach in training last year, then started coaching in full this year with Kanata. While she says she’s wanted to teach since she was little, her experience with the young athletes at the club helped inspire her to pursue education.

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“Oh my goodness, they’re so cute,” Dixon says of working with new gymnasts entering the sport. “Watching them succeed at things that you think are so simple but it’s so complicated, and then getting it right, it’s just the most exciting feeling.”

Dixon had her hand in a wide variety of the club’s activities this year. At Kanata’s year-end Alice in Wonderland performance, Dixon stepped up to perform, coordinate costumes and coach, all simultaneously. She calls that experience “chaos,” but she executed her duties with flying colours.

“She’s wearing a double or triple hat,” Kanata Rhythmic club head coach Yuliana Korolyova says of Dixon. “Managing all of that shows the absolutely incredible multitasking skills that girl has. She’s really wonderful.”

Sarah Dixon. Photo: Dan Plouffe

As Dixon prepares to launch the next chapter of her life, the memories that stand out from her gymnastics career are the competitions. There was the event earlier this year, where her Kanata AGG team put together their best performance and topped a team they had never beaten before.

There was also the 2019 world gymnaestrada in Austria, when Dixon travelled without her parents for the first time.

“Seeing all the other countries and how they do gymnastics … and seeing how they interpret the theme versus how you interpreted the theme, it’s just so cool,” Dixon recounts.

Dixon doesn’t expect to have the opportunity to participate in rhythmic gymnastics while she’s studying in Lennoxville, QC, but hopes to remain involved with Kanata Rhythmic when she’s back in town.

Dixon will be living away from home for the first time at Bishop’s. She says she’s kind of nervous, but also excited for the journey ahead.

– with files from Dan Plouffe

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1 comment

  1. We saw Sarah and the team perform in Toronto. A talented group! All the best Sarah in teaching.

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