Gymnasts from all over the country are currently competing in men’s and women’s artistic gymnastics at the Richmond Olympic Oval.
The athletes had arrived in Richmond earlier in the week, and many have been warming up and training at the Richmond Gymnastics Association (RGA) facilities.
“It’s really exciting, especially for the athletes from our club to get a chance to see some higher-level girls from all across the country.
“Not only be able to go and watch them as spectators, but also since we’ve been able to have them training in our gym right next to the girls,” said Todd Millway, a coach for the Canadian competitive program at RGA.
Seeing the gymnasts train has inspired RGA gymnasts and showed them that the next level is not that far off, Millway explained.
“It’s good for that because they see the next step. Hopefully a few of them will be at nationals next year. So then they have a little bit of a taste and they see exactly what’s going on,” he added.
Some RGA gymnasts have also been volunteering and helping with scoring and music at the Championships, which is a valuable opportunity to contribute to the larger gymnastics community.
For Richmondites in general, this is also a rare opportunity to watch a national gymnastics competition in person.
“It’s nice to be able to see not only the grassroots competitions we have around here, but also something like nationals, which doesn’t come out this way that often because it gets rotated amongst the different provinces,” said Millway.
“It’s always nice to have higher level competition in your own backyard. It just builds the excitement about the sport again.”
Returning to in-person
The in-person event is the first since 2019, and the air is buzzing with excitement.
“The energy in the building in indescribable, as everyone is excited to be together once again,” said Taylor Matthews, communications coordinator of Gymnastics Canada.
“Competitions bring our sport community together, where we can see and celebrate the achievements of athletes and teams,” she added.
The Oval was chosen because it is an “exceptional facility with incredible capacity to host this large event,” explained Matthews.
It was also the host venue for the Rhythmic Gymnastics Canadian Championships earlier this month.
The championships started just before the weekend, and today marks the beginning of junior and senior high-performance competitions in both women’s and men’s programs. The finals will be held on Monday.
“The senior high-performance program is where you will see some familiar faces who competed in the Tokyo Olympics less than a year ago,” said Matthews.
Gymnastics Canada is posting updates about the event throughout the weekend on its social media accounts. Tickets are also available at the door with prices ranging from $15 per day or $40 for a family pass.