Skip to content

Dynamyx owns the podium at Westerns

Seven medals for four gymnasts
3004 GymnasticsGold 8369 km
MEDAL HAUL — (L-R) Jay Isaac, Carter Gibbons, Sam Lefebvre, and Declan Kells show off the many medals they won at the 2022 Western Canadian Championships held April 22 to 24 at the University of Manitoba. The four are members of the Dynamyx Gymnastics Club in St. Albert. KEVIN MA/St. Albert Gazette

Four St. Albert boys flipped, swung, and rolled their way to seven medals last week at one of the biggest gymnastics tournaments in Western Canada.

Gymnasts Carter Gibbons, Jay Isaac, Declan Kells, and Sam Lefebvre of the St. Albert Dynamyx Gymnastics Club won seven medals in various events at the 2022 Western Canadian Championships held April 22 to 24 at the University of Manitoba. The championship is the highest-level competition for provincial-level male gymnasts competing in Alberta. (Provincial-level gymnasts are ranked by skill levels from one to five, with anyone performing above Level 5 eligible for national competitions.)

It was the first time this tournament had been held in two years due to the pandemic, so everyone was really excited to attend, said Dynamyx coach Kelly Baird. These athletes (plus teammate Aiden Abdel Willy) spent up to 18 hours a week for months mastering routines in six different events to compete against the top performers of their skill level in western Canada.

“We’ve never had this many medals come home at one time,” she said, and the club has never had this many athletes at the championship at once.

Baird credited the team’s strength, endurance, flexibility, and determination for the wins.

Winner’s circle

Isaac, a 14-year-old Richard S. Fowler student, took silver in the Level 5 team event and bronze in the high bar.

“I’ve been doing it since I was quite tiny,” he said of gymnastics, having started back when he was two, so he is well versed in most of the skills required for the sport.

Isaac said the high bar sees athletes hang off a bar and do various swings, flips, and manoeuvres on it before landing, all of which require excellent special awareness. He said he did about as well as he expected — it was his second time at the championship — although he fared better in the qualifiers than in the finals.

Lefebvre, a 17-year-old Bellerose student, took gold in the Level 4 team and rings events during what was his first time at the championship. Like Isaac, he started gymnastics back when he was two.

“There’s always something cool to do,” Lefebvre said of the sport, and he loves doing flips.

Lefebvre said the rings emphasize strength and control, as they are all about holding various positions while hanging in mid-air. While he was super nervous at the start of the competition, he said he managed to find his focus and fall into his routine.

Kells, aged 15, attends Sir George Simpson and took silver in the Level 4 floor contest after a lot of tumbles, holds, splits, and flips. He said he put in plenty of practice to prepare for the contest, with particular focus on his mental game.

“There was a big break during COVID, so we had to train a lot to make up for it,” he added.

While the acrobatics of gymnastics can lead to broken bones or necks, Kells said he likes the feeling of flying he gets from them, adding that it feels great to stick the landing after pulling off one of those stunts.

Gibbons, 15, earned bronze in the rings and gold in the parallel bars. The Paul Kane student and Level 4 gymnast said these events are all about power and nerves as you hurl yourself about at high speeds and high heights.

“It feels cool to be able to do all these crazy things most people can’t do,” he said.

Isaac, Kells, Lefebvre, and Gibbons all said they plan to stick with gymnastics in the years to come and eventually compete at the national level.

Kevin Ma

About the Author: Kevin Ma

Kevin Ma joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2006. He writes about Sturgeon County, education, the environment, agriculture, science and aboriginal affairs. He also contributes features, photographs and video.
Read more