ADAM JACKSON/Ponoka News
A Ponoka youngster is going to be trading the oil fields for potato fields come the end of May.
14-year-old Findlay McCormick placed atop a Alberta provincial championship for gymnastics on April 16 and will be competing at the national level at the end of May in Charlottetown, PEI.
“It’s really exciting,” said McCormick.
At the recent competition in Lethbridge, McCormick competed against seven other gymnasts, including three others from his home gym in Red Deer.
His teammates, who finished 2nd, 3rd and 5th, have been training with him since he started at Exelta Gymnastics Club about four years ago. The athletes are being judged on routines on the floor, pommel horse, rings, vault, parallel bars and horizontal bars. McCormick placed first in two of the categories.
Although McCormick and his teammates did compete against each other at the competition, they still treat each other like teammates and help one another.
His teammates will also be joining him in Charlottetown.
“Gymnastics is an individual sport, but the team aspect is there, they really support each other,” said McCormick.
The youngster has been training at the competitive level for over five years in Edmonton and Red Deer. Spending roughly 20 hours per week at the gym, Findlay has been training and preparing for an opportunity like this for quite some time.
The daily travel to Red Deer and the cost of paying for training has proven to be quite the expense for his parents, but it has been well worth it, says McCormick’s father Slade.
“I keep telling him he can quit anytime he wants,” said his father jokingly.
Because of the win, McCormick will be receiving some funding from the Alberta Gymnastics Federation for the trip to Charlottetown.
The competition in Charlottetown will be an interesting one.
McCormick will be competing against much older and more experienced athletes, as well as athletes from more developed programs in Ontario and Quebec.
“I’m not really sure (how I’ll do), but I’m hoping I’ll do pretty well,” said McCormick.
An interesting thing about McCormick and his accomplishments is that it all essentially happened by chance. His parents arbitrarily enrolled him in a gymnastics program in Edmonton and the recreational coach suggested that he try out for a higher level.
“He played soccer and other things, but now it’s pretty much just gymnastics,” said Mr. McCormick. “It wasn’t part a grand scheme or anything, but it just kind of happened.”
His current coach and former member of the Chinese national team Jie Wang has nothing but praise to give for the young athlete.
“He’s enthusiastic – he listens, learns and tries really hard,” said Wang. “I’m really, really happy for the whole team (that is traveling to Charlottetown), they’re accomplishing their goals.”
McCormick’s major goal for his career is to compete at the senior level in gymnastics.