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Gymnastics off to the next level

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services

Rankin Inlet (Apr 05/06) - The gymnastics program in Rankin Inlet continues to grow in popularity.

The program was started just over two years ago by Maani Ulujuk high school (MUI) teacher Lisa Kresky.

Kresky managed to make do with the equipment she had during the first two years, but, thanks to fundraising efforts and the help of a local airline, the MUI gym now has a whole new look.

The gymnastics program recently received a large shipment of equipment, including a new floor, balance beam, competitive vault, grandmaster trampoline, mini-trampoline, landing mats and a beat board.

"We could never have received all this new equipment without the help we received from Canadian North," says Kresky.

"The airline really stepped up to ship the equipment and it's greatly appreciated by our gymnasts."

Program enrollment has doubled this year, with the latest session having about 110 participants ranging in age from three to adult.

The program has also expanded and now offers recreational and competitive gymnastics, as well as conditioning classes.

The gymnasts will hold their big year-end show on April 12 at MUI.

After that, the competitive team will travel to the Baffin for a training camp with the Iqaluit Gymnastics Club from April 17-21.

Kresky says the Rankin gymnasts are looking forward to helping Iqaluit improve its program.

"The Iqaluit program is developing nicely, but, at this point, I would have to say Rankin is still more advanced.

"Gymnastics have really caught on in Rankin.

"When people from other communities are in town, they're always impressed with what they see in our program."

A level system was developed for the Rankin gymnasts this past fall. There are 15 levels, with a ribbon being awarded for each level completed.

The system starts with basic moves and advances to high-level skills.

"I'm excited with the way the program is advancing," says Kresky.

"I hope to have full competitions for the competitive gymnasts next year to work towards the 2008 Arctic Winter Games."