In the green valley of Dornbirn, Austria, if you’d looked closely in the sea of 18,000 athletes from 65 nations Wednesday, you might just have spotted two dozen young Bowen Islanders dressed in Canada’s colours.
It was the opening ceremony of the World Gymnaestrada 2019 and the youth are part of the Bowen Island Gymnastics club. (The event runs July 7 to 13 but the opening ceremony was postponed due to weather.)
“Bowen Island was at the front of the Canada delegation and we got to carry the flag onto the field,” said one of the parent-chaperones Katie Cooke in an email. “We were told that there were over 30,000 people in attendance. It was a very proud moment for our Bowen Gymnastics team.”
The non-competitive gymnaestrada is held every four years and is according to its website, attracts the most active participants of any event held by the International Gymnastics Federation.
“The team had their first performance on the world stage yesterday and they were absolutely incredible,” said one of the parent-chaperones Katie Cooke in an email. “They have worked incredibly hard over the past year and all their training paid off!”
The youth have spent the better part of the past year fundraising up a storm (had you cast a ballot on Election Day on Bowen in October, you may have seen their bake sale table) and training.
“They all performed with enormous smiles on their faces and gave it their all,” said Cooke.
“We would like to thank the community for their support and for helping us get to World Gymnaestrada in Austria!”