By Adam Eisenbarth
For one young Ponoka athlete, continuous effort and perseverance has really paid off.
Gymnast Findlay McCormick was named athlete of the year with Exelta Gymnastics in Red Deer.
McCormick was honoured to be named athlete of the year.
“It was pretty neat. It’s very hard in gymnastics because you have to be very committed to the conditioning. Sometimes it’s fun but it is a lot of hard work too.”
McCormick has been very successful in a short period of time, but for all the success he has achieved, it has meant tiring work to get there.
“Last year he trained 14 hours a week, and this year that will go up to 20 hours a week so it’s a lot of work for him,” says his mother, Suzanne McCormick. Findlay got his start in the sport for fun, but has become a very serious competitor.
“He was in recreational gymnastics and he saw what some of the boys were doing in the competitive gymnastics and decided he wanted to go into that.”
Since entering competitive gymnastics at age nine, Findlay, now 12, has made major strides and continues to improve.
McCormick has supported her son all the way and has enjoyed watching him progress.
“It’s just been amazing. It’s really phenomenal to watch him gain the skills to go on and he’s always getting better.”
Coach Jie Wang also sees the focus and determination of the young gymnast.
“He’s trained really hard. I don’t have to push him. He’s given leadership. He’s got the attitude and that has impacted everyone on the team to work a lot harder too.”
While Findlay’s improvements appear seamless, there were major obstacles to overcome early in his participation.
“We were going to Edmonton at the time and it got a little too hard to keep going, so there was about six months where he stopped. But he couldn’t live without it so we found him a place in Red Deer and he’s been going there for about a year and a half now.”
Exelta Gymnastics, in the Collicutt Centre, has been a second home for the hard-working athlete, and coach Wang is happy to have him.
“He’s really enjoying this sport and that’s part of why I’ve enjoyed coaching him so much.” Findlay came in first all-around in the Exelta competition and has done well in other competitions as well, finishing first in the all-around in Canmore as well.
Though the competition season is over, Findlay continues training throughout the summer as he continues to develop as a top gymnast in the province, but he’s already looking at the bigger picture.
“It would be really awesome to go to the Olympics.”
For the determined Ponoka athlete, there seems to be no limit to what he can achieve.