Emily Schmidt’s gymnastic abilities have her flying with the falcons.
The 15-year-old Belmont secondary student, a member of Falcon Gymnastics, earned a gold medal for her floor routine at the Christy Fraser Memorial Competition in Langley last month.
Schmidt has been involved in gymnastics for six years, the past four competitively.
Although it devours most of her free time – she practices for four hours five days a week – the rewards outweigh any loss of free time.
“I’m doing something that I love that keeps you in great physical shape,” she explained during an interview before practice.
Some of the other benefits include developing self discipline and better time-management skills, she added.
It has also changed how she looks towards the future, said Schmidt, who is considering a career in physiotherapy or attending medical school.
Another element that attracted her to the sport is the opportunity to compete against herself, as well as the other gymnasts.
“The beam and floor routines appeal to me the most,” Schmidt said. “I’m more of an artistic gymnast and those events suit me more. Although, training is very repetitive. With competitions it’s one shot, mess up and you’re done.”
She also appreciates the relationships the sport has nurtured, noting that now some of her closest friends are members of Falcon Gymnastics. “We all push each other in a positive way. It would be much harder if they weren’t there.”
Schmidt, who takes part in six to seven competitions a year between January and June, is looking forward to the Gymnix International competition March 3 to 6 in Montreal.
“I’m pretty excited about my first trip to Montreal, but pretty nervous about competing against gymnasts from all over the world.”
Other goals include earning an opportunity to compete in the provincials, which take place in Langley in June. Success at that tournament could result in a trip to the Westerns.
Falcon Gymnastics has been in operation in Saanich since 1973, offering a full range of programs and camps for preschoolers to adults.
Their competitive team includes about 40 members from six to 16 years of age.
Sheila Schmidt, president of the Falcon Gymnastics Parents Association, said the recent success at three competitions in February is a testament to the dedication of the coaches, athletes and their parents.
“The coaches spend many hours training and preparing the girls and have devoted their lives to helping them excel,” she said. “The commitment on the parents’ part to enable the girls to train and compete requires a lot of personal sacrifice for the whole family.”
For more information check out falcongymanstics.com.