By Steve Hubrecht 

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A trio of Columbia Valley gymnasts from the local Peaks Gymnastics Society recently took part in the provincial championships.

The three gymnasts — Lauren Hofer (12), Sarah Johnson (13) and Lydia Stinson (14) — participated in the Gymnastics BC Championships at the Pacific National Exhibition in Vancouver from March 28 to March 30 and returned to the Columbia Valley having put in plenty of effort and achieving some solid results.

“It is one of the largest and most prestigious annual gymnastics events in the province,” coach Amanda Stinson told the Pioneer. 

“These athletes put in a lot of hard work to prepare to compete. Just getting onto the competition floor at BC championships is an accomplishment. It takes a lot to get to that level and we are incredibly proud of them.”

Gymnast Lauren Hofer

The three Peaks gymnasts joined several hundred other competitors from 39 gymnastics clubs across B.C. at the event. They competed in Canadian Competitive Program Level 6 (CCP 6) and had to earn qualifying scores earlier in the season at other competitions to be able to go to provincials.

Lydia Stinson finished first in the balance beam, second in floor, second in all around, and fifth on the uneven bars for 14 year olds. 

Johnson came second in the balance beam for 13 year olds. Hofer earned sixth in the vault, eighth on the uneven bars and ninth in all around for 12 year olds.

Hofer had been to the BC championships before, but it was the first time for Johnson and Stinson.

“It is exciting. There is an extra element because there are so many clubs and so many gymnasts. It is a unique experience,” said Amanda, adding that the three gymnasts were not distracted by the magnitude of the occasion and were able to focus on doing their best.

“As a coach you see them practise, putting in a lot of effort during training. So to then see them go out and perform and have fun is really great,” she said.

Gymnast Lydia Stinson

Peaks Gymnastics Society has one of the highest number of participants of any sports clubs in the Columbia Valley, even rivalling youth soccer.

Part of the appeal, Amanda thinks, is that “in a lot of ways it is a very progressive sport. There is always a new goal to work toward. As soon as you master one thing, you can then move on to the next step.”

Gymnastics is more than a sport, explained Amanda. 

“It really can be foundational for many things beyond sport. It goes beyond the physical aspect of gymnastics. Obviously there is a physical strength and capability there, but there is also a lot of perseverance, focus, confidence, goal-setting” she said. 

“There are so many benefits that come from gymnastics that you can take forward in life. It’s very positive in that way.”