Hard work paying off for a trio of gymnasts

Matthew
Matthew Gourlie
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Three top tumbling and trampoline athletes were busy toiling away in the basement of the Hillcrest Sports Centre this past winter.

Dennis Oppenlander won a bronze medal at the recent Canadian Gymnastics Championships. Times-Herald photo by Katie Brickman

Last week their hard work paid off as Danielle Grieve and Dennis Oppenlander each won national medals and Brent Ertman finished fourth at the Canadian Gymnastics Championships in Ottawa. 

Grieve and Oppenlander are from Regina and Ertman is from Prince Albert, but they all represent the Moose Jaw Gymtastiks club and train under coach Jamie Olmstead.

"They did absolutely amazing," said Olmstead. "They trained really hard before we left to make sure their routines were ready. We did a couple of upgrades and added some new skills to make sure that they're difficulty as high as the other kids in the country.

"Our goal was to make sure that we landed inside the box and to make sure we took as few steps as possible — sticking the landing was the goal. Two of them came home with medals."

Oppenlander, 19, is a member of the national team and he finished third out of 11 competitors in the double-mini trampoline senior men category — the highest there is. 

Grieve, 15, is in the first of the five national categories, but she finished second out 42 competitors in the double-mini trampoline national women field.

Ertman, 14, was fourth out 36 competitors and moved up from eight in the preliminaries to fourth in the finals in the double-mini trampoline national men category.

After the competition in Ottawa, Olmstead stayed behind to continue working towards her level 4 coaching certification.

"I'm the first trampoline coach in Saskatchewan ever to be selected (to take level 4)," said Olmstead. "It's a two year process. There are four courses and they're a week long and I'm in my third one.

"It is the highest level; it means you can coach at the Olympics."

Oppenlander finished 12th at the world championships in Sofia, Bulgaria earlier this year.

It's been a good year for the three, but they aren't resting on their laurels. They're actually going to increase their training time and Olmstead is looking to work with them for a couple more hours per week.

"We want to make sure we train smart instead of hard," she said. "We're going to spend a lot of time on landing."

Oppenlander and Grieve drive in from Regina three days a week, while Ertman comes down from Prince Albert twice a month on Saturdays.

"He trains in Prince Albert and I do a lot of video with Skype and such," explained Olmstead.

Grieve and Ertman are working on adding skills to their repertoire so that they can are ready advance to a higher level of competition.

"If we do get another big skill — if they turn one of their passes into a double to double — then they're likely to move on to the next category which is called Espoir," Olmstead explained.

For Oppenlander the next few months are about continuing to improve and to stay at the international level.

"We have some time before their next competition (Canada Cup in Toronto area) in the last weekend in July," said Olmstead. "It's another qualifier for Dennis to stay on Team Canada as a senior athlete. It's a qualifier for worlds for him."

Organizations: Prince Albert, Team Canada

Geographic location: Ottawa, Regina, Saskatchewan Sofia Bulgaria Canada Toronto

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  • Derek Duddy
    June 11, 2014 - 02:56

    Fantastic effort and success for these young persons, we follow Brent Ertman here in England, fantastic we can read about then from your newspaper via the internet....