Aspiring Sundre gymnast undeterred by ankle injury

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After working hard to qualify for a recent provincial gymnastics meet, a young aspiring Sundre athlete was not about to let a recovering ankle injury stop her from competing among the province’s best.

Jade Marks, 12, recently placed 13th overall out of 25 athletes in her age category and sixth on the uneven bars during the 2017 Artistic Gymnastics Provincial Championships in Fort McMurray. Marks competed on April 8 but the tournament ran April 7-9.

“It was a little bit difficult, but I worked really hard to go to provincials,” Marks said, adding she was not about to pass up the opportunity she had invested so much energy to obtain because of a sprain.

According to the event’s official website, the more than 500 athletes who attended, accompanied by 100 coaches, were expected to bring out as many as 1,000 spectators who wanted to see and support Alberta’s top artistic gymnasts.

Considering her daughter was coping with recovering from an injury, mom Brenda told the Round Up she was impressed by how well Jade was able to perform. Making matters worse, her ankle injury followed a shakeup during previous vehicle collisions, she added.

“She did really well considering we were in two minor car accidents right before she competed to even qualify to go (to provincials),” one of which resulted in whiplash and physiotherapy, she said.

During the zones, which were held March 17 at the University of Calgary, Jade won a silver medal on the uneven bars as well as a bronze medal on the floor, securing a spot in the provincewide championships. After qualifying for provincials, Jade continued to train but sprained her ankle and ended up with a brace right up until the big competition, said Brenda.

However, even that injury barely slowed down her daughter.

“She competed in all events,” she said.

The four women’s artistic events were floor, vault, uneven bars and beam.

“Both her coach and I are really impressed with her and how she performed,” Brenda said.

What began as a recreational pursuit when she was only seven developed into an ongoing passion as Jade wanted to put her newfound abilities to the test. So two years later, she began to compete after joining the Airdrie Gymnastics Club. She is now training with the Carstairs Gymnastics Club.

“I pretty much enjoy everything about it,” Jade told the Round Up during a phone interview after school last week.

“I love the tumbling, the conditioning and the stretching. I just tried it once, and wanted to keep doing it.”

The young, aspiring gymnast remains fixed on continuing gymnastics, and plans to keep training with the Carstairs club.

Pull quote

“I love the tumbling, the conditioning and the stretching. I just tried it once, and wanted to keep doing it.”ó Jade Marks, 12

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Simon Ducatel

Simon Ducatel is the editor of the Sundre Round Up and a longtime columnist for other publications of Mountain View Publishing.