By Steve Hubrecht
The annual Winter Cup competition, recently hosted by local nonprofit Peaks Gymnastics Society was a tumbling success.
It was the second edition of the event, which began last year, and organizers are already planning the third edition next year.
“It was extremely successful, everyone had a great time,” Peaks office manager Michelle Speechlay told the Pioneer last week, a few days after the Winter Cup wrapped up.
The competition featured 115 gymnasts not only from the Columbia Valley-based Peaks Gymnastics Society, but also from four other East Kootenay gymnastics clubs. The hometown club was well represented in the event, accounting for 35 of the 115 athletes.
Gymnasts competed in vault, bars, beam, floor and combined events in categories based on experience and age.
The Winter Cup was held on Saturday, Jan. 20 and Sunday, Jan. 21 at David Thompson Secondary School (DTSS), and according to Speechlay things went about as smoothly as possible.
The gymnasts taking part were bubbling with excitement, she said. “For some of the younger ones, it was their very first competition ever. And for some of the older ones it was one of their last competitions. So there was a lot of emotion,” Speechlay noted.
The Winter Cup kicks off the competitive season for Peaks and most other gymnastics clubs around the East Kootenay. It is followed later in the year by other competitions around the Kootenay (including Cranbrook and Nelson), as well as by qualifying competition for the B.C. Winter Games, and for some of the gymnasts, by provincials in Vancouver.
Peaks started the Winter Cup back in 2022 “because we felt it would be a fun opening competition for all of the East Kootenay athletes,” said Speechlay. “The more our gymnasts try competing, the more they get used to competing, and that helps them grow as athletes.”
Most of the young gymnasts with Peaks train year round, although they do take a break during summer, explained Speechlay.
This year’s Winter Cup saw the debut of the Peaks Gymnastics Society’s new mascot, Yeti (see photos). The fuzzy grey mascot was a huge hit with gymnasts, coaches and spectators alike.
Speechlay extended her heartfelt thanks to all Winter Cup sponsors, coaches and the volunteers who made the event possible.