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Dick medals for Trinidad and Tobago

St. Albert gymnast achieves podium finishes at Commonwealth Invitational in Perth, Scotland

By: Jeff Hansen

  |  Posted: Saturday, May 10, 2014 06:00 am

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  • BALANCING ACT – Marisa Dick of St. Albert works on her uneven bars routine during Thursday's training session at the Ortona Gymnastics Club. Last month Dick was the first female gymnast representing Trinidad and Tobago to medal internationally. She won gold on bars, silver on balance beam and bronze on vault and in the all-around category at the Commonwealth Invitational in Perth, Scotland.
    BALANCING ACT – Marisa Dick of St. Albert works on her uneven bars routine during Thursday's training session at the Ortona Gymnastics Club. Last month Dick was the first female gymnast representing Trinidad and Tobago to medal internationally. She won gold on bars, silver on balance beam and bronze on vault and in the all-around category at the Commonwealth Invitational in Perth, Scotland.
    CHRIS COLBOURNE/St. Albert Gazette
  • INTERNATIONAL MEDALLIST – St. Albert gymnast Marisa Dick displays the four medals she won for Trinidad and Tobago at the Commonwealth Invitational last month in Perth, Scotland. The Ortona Gymnastics Club athlete was awarded gold on the uneven bars, silver on balance beam and bronze on vault and in the all-around category. They are the first international medals ever won by a Trinidad female gymnast.
    INTERNATIONAL MEDALLIST – St. Albert gymnast Marisa Dick displays the four medals she won for Trinidad and Tobago at the Commonwealth Invitational last month in Perth, Scotland. The Ortona Gymnastics Club athlete was awarded gold on the uneven bars, silver on balance beam and bronze on vault and in the all-around category. They are the first international medals ever won by a Trinidad female gymnast.

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St. Albert gymnast Marisa Dick medalled for the first time on the international stage for Trinidad and Tobago at the Commonwealth Invitational in Perth, Scotland.

Dick, 16, achieved podium finishes of gold on uneven bars, silver on balance beam and bronze on vault and in the all-around event at the Artistic Celtic Cup meet last month.

“It feels amazing. It just shows everyone that I can compete and I’m a good competitor,” said Dick, who trains at the Ortona Gymnastics Club. “I was so happy because all my training paid off. I hit all eight routines and I didn’t fall at all. It was awesome to finally hit everything.”

They were also the first international medals by a Trinidad female gymnast.

“Ricardo (Lue Shue), the head of gymnastics for Trinidad, was there so for him to see my routines and also watch me get presented with the medals was awesome,” said Dick, the 2013 Trinidad national champion.

The Grade 11 Paul Kane High School student has dual citizenship and represented Trinidad at last year’s world championships in Antwerp, Belgium. She placed 50th out of 81 females all-around, the highest ranking ever by a Trinidad gymnast.

William Albert, a Canadian based at the University of Iowa, also won gold on rings for Trinidad at the Celtic Cup.

“It shows that Trinidad has potential to do really good in men’s and women’s gymnastics since we both medalled,” said Dick, the first junior elite gymnast to compete for Trinidad at the Pan American championships.

Of the four medals Dick won at the Celtic Cup, the all-around bronze shines the brightest. She was in contention for gold until Scotland competed on floor and vault.

“There were a lot of girls and it shows that I’m not just a specialist, that I’m good all-around and I can compete,” said Dick, who finished behind winner Emma White and Erin McLachlan of Scotland by the slimmest of margins in the all-around point totals.

On bars Dick and White tied for the gold medal at 13.200.

“I’ve been training on bars really well and making it cleaner and nicer and I just went out and hit it at the competition,” Dick said of the apparatus she has improved on the most since worlds. “Everyone tells me I have beautiful bars and I’ve won bars the past two competitions (at provincials in national open and Celtic Cup).”

The 2013 Alberta Gymnastics Federation female athlete of the year also tied Dipa Karmakar of India on beam at 13.300. The winner was India McPeak of Northern Ireland at 13.450.

“It was a little wobbly but it’s always good if you stay on beam. You have a chance to place if you stay on because it’s really hard to stay on beam,” said Dick, who pulled off a double turn for the first time at the beginning of her routine. “I didn’t wobble at all.”

Dick’s 7.025 score on vault was third best behind Karmakar’s 7.100 and White’s 7.050.

“In training it was a little shaky. I was trying to get used to the equipment so I just ran fast and hoped for the best,” Dick said.

Ovidiu Serban, who coached Dick at the Capital City Gymnastics Club before they shifted to Ortona this season, credits the rising star’s mental focus and motivation as her biggest strength.

“It’s helped her a lot to become a very successful athlete. She wants to do it and she has to perfect everything that she needs to get that success she got a few weeks ago,” Serban said.

“She is getting that attitude, like a performer, and you can see that even with not only major competitions but small competitions. She is getting to the event and she is getting ready in her mind and getting prepared for what she has to do. It’s a different attitude than before. It’s one of an elite athlete.”

Serban works with Dick to develop new skills as she progresses to the top of the high performance ranks.

“Most of the time I’m telling her to just be focused on what she is doing and make sure she is not getting injured. I think she is thinking about having to perform clean and clear and not do bad mistakes when you can get injured,” said the Romanian-born coach.

“Right now she is not an old athlete but an athlete with experience already and because she is getting a little bit older she understands what she has to do so it’s easy to talk to her and get her on the right path.”

Dick is eager to improve on all the apparatuses including floor, where she placed a distant 10th at provincials and seventh at the Celtic Cup.

“I’m just trying to make everything clean while still with high difficulty and try and perfect them so there is no chance of falling.”

On tap for Dick is the sixth nationals of her career, May 26 to 31 in Ottawa. She is striving for a top-three all-around finish in the 16-plus national open division after placing fourth last year, but did win gold on floor for her first national medal.

Dick is restricted to the open division at nationals because of her international commitments with Trinidad.

She qualified for nationals as the Alberta national open champion after placing second all-around last year. Her medal haul at provincials included gold on vault and bars and bronze on beam.

Dick will also perform at the Trinidad nationals, Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, the Central American and Caribbean Games in Veracruz, Mexico, as well as the 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games in Toronto.

The Commonwealth Games, July 23 to Aug. 3, is a biggie for Dick.

“It will be so cool to be there with all the other sports and everything that is part of the games,” she said. “I’ve been to the Canada Winter Games but not to a games internationally so it’s going to be crazy. I’m going to meet new people from Trinidad. I’m excited but I don’t know what to expect.

“Hopefully I make event finals and all-around finals.”


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