D’Amour tough as gold!!

Gymnasts from the Island Gymnastics Academy recently returned from the US Winter Cup Nationals in Las Vegas. The competition took place from February 1-5 with over 1200 male gymnasts competing in several categories. Highlighting the competition was seasoned veteran and former Canadian National Team member Matthieu D’Amour.

Known for his extreme strength on the rings apparatus and powerful vault, D’Amour landed short on a vault during warm-up. “It’s a vault I’ve done hundreds of times, but with high difficulty skills like my vault, there’s always the chance of injury” says D’Amour. He continued through the pain to win a gold medal on both of his specialties (rings and vault) and silver on the vault exercise in the Level 10 category. Upon returning home, he immediately went for X-rays where it was determined he had fractured his foot during the competition. “For an athlete to endure that pain, and not only persist through the competition but to come up as a champion at this level of competition with a broken foot speaks huge volumes of Matt’s persistence” says longtime Academy coach Jim Rand.

Joining D’Amour on the medal podium were teammates Sam Mallett, Matt Gallant and Carson Younker in the Level 9 category. With a lengthy resume of International competitions now under his belt, Sam Mallett had one of his best competitions to date, receiving a silver on vault, silver on high bar, bronze on parallel bars and an impressive bronze all-around. Matt Gallant received a bronze on the rings apparatus and Carson Younker helped the three-man level 9 team clinch a bronze medal in the team category. “To send such a small group of athletes to Las Vegas to compete at an International level and return with 8 medals, says huge things about the caliber of gymnastics we are producing on PEI” says Rand.

The boy’s team is now preparing to travel to Elite Canada from February 16-19. Although originally scheduled to compete, D’Amour will be scratched from the event due to the injury suffered at the Winter Cup. This will leave 36 year old Scott Chandler (Canada’s oldest gymnast) to compete solo in the Men’s Senior Category, while joined by 11-year old Sam Gillis in the Argo category.

The women’s team in now preparing to send a squad of 27 girls to the Taiso invitational in Nova Scotia, along with  10 girls to Miramichi for an Atlantics qualifier.

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