By Dale Skulsky
“It’s tough to compete at the World Championships when you’ve only been to three or four international competitions in your life,” explained U of C/Team Canada gymnast Scott Lang. “Especially when there’s guys there who’ve been to 40 or 50 in the last year.”
The lack of experience for Canadian international gymnasts is the basis for the headline competition Fri., March 15 at the Jack, when Team Canada will take on Team USA in the Eighth Annual Jurassic Classic meet. Four Calgary gymnasts will anchor the Canadians including Lang, Grant Golding, Kyle Shewfelt and Kylie Stone in the second year of the international dual meet. Last year the women took on Team France while the men hosted Team Netherlands.
"Last year was a great experience for our team," said Lang of the host sweep. "This year will be great as well but it’s going to be much tougher. The U.S. are medal contenders at worlds and even though this is their B team, they’re easily as good as our A team."
In addition to the headline event, 618 athletes from places as far away as Japan, Thailand, Austria and Hungary will compete in the open portion of the meet March 16–17. That’s quite a turnout considering the inaugural Jurassic Classic was an Alberta competition with only about 200 gymnasts-none of whom were at the calibre of this year’s contingent. According to Meet Director Christine Laverty, the meet’s growth over the years is a testament to the organizing committee.
"This meet’s success has been based almost solely on word of mouth," she said. "The organizing committee did such a good job that people started talking. The word spread from provincials, to westerns, to nationals and eventually outside Canada. People just want to compete here."
Lang-who returned to the
U of C after the National Training Centre in Fredricton, N.B. floundered-is excited about the meet and the improving state of Canadian gymnastics.
"This meet is just a step on the ladder," he said. "It used to be that no one wanted to compete against Canada internationally. And really we didn’t have the money to travel around from meet to meet. But thanks to our Canada’s new Head Coach there seems to be more support and more money lately. It’s nice to see things getting better."