Ponoka gymnast shines at nationals

A trained gymnast and Ponoka resident competed at the Canadian National Gymnastics Championships recently.

Ian McCormick

Ian McCormick

A trained gymnast and Ponoka resident competed at the Canadian National Gymnastics Championships recently.

Findlay McCormick finished 15th and his team won silver at the Regina-based event. This is the third time McCormick has been to the championships.

For the last six years McCormick has been practicing gymnastics. He started in recreational but a coach suggested he enter competitive gymnastics.

“I just loved it,” McCormick said.

McCormick is home-schooled to allow for more time to train. He currently trains in Red Deer. “I train 20 hours a week, year round.”

While gymnastics season runs only from January to May he spends the rest of the year learning new skills, which is one of his favorite parts of the sport.

There are 33 people in McCormick’s level whom he competed against; some were also on the same team as him, representing Alberta.

“We try to support each other. We want each other to be successful,” McCormick said.

Competition between teams can be heated but McCormick says it’s only during the meets. Off the floor there is no rivalry.

Someday McCormick may be qualifying for Worlds rather than championships at his current level. “I hope to reach senior level, which is the highest level.”

Each year McCormick’s family spends around $10,000 on training, travel and fees.

“He quit at one point because it was so hard on the family, but it (gymnastics) was something he needed,” said Suzanne McCormick, Findlay’s mother. “It’s pretty exciting for us. He works really hard at everything,”

McCormick’s coach was trained in China and has been coaching for more than 30 years. It’s this veteran who pacifies McCormick’s mother. Wear-and-tear on the body is normally a big part of a gymnast’s life. However, in his six years McCormick has only hurt his back and dislocated his finger. And there have been few injuries with the other boys he trains with.

By Amelia Naismith