Acrobatic accomplishments for the Gymnastes de L’Île
PHOTO COURTESY EVA DOLENSZKY
Beaming teammates from Les Gymnastes de L’Île admire their medals after an amazing performance at this year’s Acro Palooza in Calgary, Alberta.
It has been an impressive year for acro-gymnastics club Les Gymnastes de L’Île who train in Île-Perrot, Notre-Dame-de-l’Île-Perrot (NDIP), and Pincourt. For those not in the know, acrobatic gymnastics is an internationally growing form of gymnastics, governed by the Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique, where competitors perform highly theatrical floor routines in men’s and women’s pairs, mixed pairs, and groups. The routines are set to music and can involve a combination of lifts and balance moves, as well as dynamic throws and catches – the style can be described as something you might see at a performance of a certain world-famous Quebec-based circus group.
In February and May, 2018, athletes and coaches travelled to compete in Quebec City and Drummondville, where the Gymnastes de L’Île came away with seven gold and three silver medals, as well as two fourths and a fifth place finish. At the end of May, 13 athletes and their coach participated in the first international Acro Palooza in Calgary, Alberta. They performed exceptionally well and brought back three gold medals, two silver medals, and a fifth place. They also performed an emotional group routine that garnered a standing ovation and won the prize for Most Memorable Routine. More successes are sure to come at competitions this fall in Quebec City and Ontario.
It’s been a long road getting to where they are. Coaches Andrzej Cichalewski and Ewa Rucka, both national champions from Poland, introduced the world of acrosport to Quebec when they founded the team over 18 years ago. They’ve worked tirelessly to see the team through many milestones, including performing for the first time at the Quebec Championships in 2008, and becoming recognized as an official sport by Gymnastique Quebec in 2010.
On top of training the competitive team, the non-profit club also offers recreational lessons to kids as young as 4. The coaches are focused not just on competitive success, but also friendship and belonging. With the diversity of elements in the sport, they are able to find a place for young gymnasts of all different strengths and abilities to shine.