Gymnastics Victoria is proud to announce the first round of 2022 Award finalists.
Service to Gymnastics Award
This award recognises volunteer personnel who, through their personal contribution, have enhanced the development of Gymnastics Victoria. The 2022 finalists are:
Alistair (Al) Edgar has contributed significantly to the sport of gymnastics as an elite coach, state and international events manager, club owner, and Gymnastics Victoria Board Director. Over the past eight years as a volunteer Board Director, Al has worked tirelessly behind the scenes to increase professionalism, challenge the status quo, and influence outcomes for the gymnastics community through a process of inquiry and genuine curiosity. Alistair works full-time in the state government and owns and operates Energetic Gymnastics, a gymnastics club for purpose in Regional Victoria. He has secured a long-term presence for gymnastics within the $19m Gippsland Regional Indoor Sports Stadium. He has also designed and delivered the Gippsland Sports Academy Gymnastics Program, which enhances pathways for aspiring gymnasts and grows and develops the regional coaching workforce.
Mentor, team player, and inspirational leader - Shonda leads from the front, not asking any staff member to take on a task that she would not do herself. With an open-door policy, Shonda has cultivated a culture of care during her short tenure at Geelong YMCA. Empowering staff to push, challenge and modify to develop themselves both personally and professionally, Shonda has taken on the role of three people to lead the team and community seamlessly through the transition coming out of the covid-19 years. Implementing new management structures and strategies, Shonda is the true embodiment of tactical re-invention supporting the club to consolidate and reenergize its offerings.
Club of the Year Awards
These awards recognise clubs that promote and demonstrate positive values, respond to community and social needs, and provide opportunities for participation and involvement in gymnastics.
The awards are split into the following categories:
New Club of the Year (club established in 2021/2022)
Small Club of the Year (less than 399 participants)
Bentleigh McKinnon Gymnastics
Glen Iris Gymnastics
Medium Club of the Year (between 400 and 299 participants)
Eastern Gymnastics Club
Fishermen's Bend Gymnastics Club
YMCA Leisure City
Large Club of the Year (between 800 and 1199 participants)
Highett Youth Club
Melbourne Acrobatic Gymnastics
Mega Club of the Year (more than 1200 participants)
CYC Gym Sports
Essendon Keillor Gymnastics Academy (EKGA)
Waverley Gymnastics Club
2022 Overall Club of the Year (selected by Awards Committee from the winners of the above awards)
Inclusive Initiative of the Year Award
This award recognises a club that has implemented an inclusive initiative, program, or event which promotes and supports the inclusion of underrepresented groups in the sport of gymnastics. The 2022 finalists are:
Inclusive Leader of the Year (Club or Person) Awards
This award recognises a club or individual who champions inclusion in their community, demonstrating leadership and promoting safe, inclusive, and welcoming experiences in gymnastics. The 2022 finalists are:
Casey Gymnastics is regarded for its commitment to the growth and development of individuals living with a disability. Known for its well-established Access For All initiatives which focus on seeing the ability in each athlete - every session is tailored to suit the gymnasts’ individual needs and goals. Their programs run six days a week, from morning to evening, ensuring everyone can attend. To support athletes with a passion for the sport, Casey Gymnastics has also established a transition pathway. This pathway program, known as transition, provides athletes with the opportunity, and coaching, to progress into group classes. Well know and respected within their community, Casey Gymnastics upholds integrity with a strong commitment to child safety and good sportsmanship.
Naomi Mason Dean and Erin Dean, BTYC Gymnastics
The coaching team of Naomi and Erin at BTYC Gymnastics lead the club's training programs for athletes with disabilities. With the support of athlete parents, this team works tirelessly to provide experiences that will lead to a greater quality of life and ensure motor, physical and mental adaptations. Integrating language learning, motor control, mental focus, and concentration into every gymnastics class, each gymnast they coach is given their complete attention. Time and time again, this team have demonstrated their commitment and dedication to all athletes resulting in a positive impact across the BTYC community.
Highett Youth Club Gymnastics (HYC)
Highett Youth Club’s All Abilities program provides young athletes with an alternative to mainstream gymnastics classes. In these classes participants are supported to learn at their own pace in a safe and controlled environment. With a high volume of coaches on the floor, ensuring all athletes are given the attention and time they need to progress, the HYC All Abilities classes also provide a transition pathway to mainstream gymnastics within the club. Over the years, a number of gymnasts have progressed to group classes. HYC have also seen considerable positive outcomes within their local community as a result of these classes, coaches, and development pathway.
Jackie Page, Geelong YMCA
Jackie has dedicated her life to gymnastics, as a former gymnast herself, and now as a MAP All Abilities program coach at the Geelong YMCA. Jackie encourages and supports her students always going the extra mile to ensure gymnasts achieve their goals. Her commitment to her gymnasts is obvious. Prior to an event earlier in the year, Jackie ensured her athletes and their respective families were prepared and felt at ease by arranging a trial competition. She also arranged for the fitting and prompt delivery of competition uniforms, ensuring the all were familiar with the process. In managing a range of all ability athletes,Jackie is very generous with her time ensuring she is available to answer questions ad never shying away from a conversation. Her years of experience have benefited all students at the Y as well as the local community.
Katrina Degoldi, Geelong YMCA
Katrina coordinates the MAP All Abilities gymnastics program at the Geelong YMCA. Katrina has an unwavering ability to support students ensuring that they develop and learn at their own pace. The aim of the program is to provide life skills, so that students may learn and develop the core foundation movements. Tailoring programs unique to each athlete, and level of ability, Kat explores what works best for the learner. Kat welcomes students of all abilities and will do everything she can to cater to their needs.
Margaret Hurlstone, MYC Gymnastics
Margaret is the Program Manager at MYC Gymnastics' Western Port venue. Offering a Fit For All class, in 2022 Margaret not only worked closely with Special Olympics Australia to grow and develop the program, but also registered with the Young Athletes Program and secured equipment and staff funding. Margaret contacted Special Development Schools in the area and local disability providers to provide information about the benefits of the program, inviting new participants to the class and working with the community to facilitate a holiday program. Under Margaret's leadership, the Fit For All class has doubled in size this year.
With the development and implementation of SocialGym, a program for children aged 8-12 with learning disabilities and special needs, Twisters have demonstrated innovative thinking, focusing on the needs of children and assisting them to develop their social, emotional and problem-solving skills, all while keeping fit. SocialGym switches between traditional gymnastics circuits and social activities and encourages open communications with the child's guardian, which in turn builds trust and helps strengthen respectful relationships between the child and the coach. Twisters Gymnastics have kept things simple, safe and fun for the whole community, by ensuring participants of all abilities can enjoy gymnastics.
Gymnast with Disability of the Year Award
This award recognises a gymnast with disability who has shown a high level of commitment to gymnastics, acted as a role model, and achieved outstanding results at State, national, international, or elite level. The finalists for 2022 are:
Athlete of the year
A natural leader with a pleasant disposition that inspires athletes and coaches alike within the Jets Gymnastics community. Amy is renowned for her infectious smile and eternally optimist attitude. Diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, this gymnast embodies grace, determination, and the true meaning of a 'can do' attitude.
Francesca has been doing private gymnastics classes for many years through MFLW and Melbourne Gymnastics Centre. Throughout lockdowns, Francesca continued her passion for the sport participating in online zoom classes. In 2022, Francesca decided to take the next step in her gymnastics journey and entered the Victorian Championships with a Special O routine. Blowing everyone away with an outstanding performance, this young athlete placed first all-around. Francesca's love for gymnastics has only grown and she has dedicated herself to her training and upskilling all her routines. Francesca focused on upgrades competing with increased routine difficulty at the Casey Cup, and once again placed first all round. Francesca consistently attends training with a smile on her face and is always willing to give anything a go even when skills are hard to achieve. The young gymnast is a positive role model and supportive of her fellow gymnasts, within the community cheering everyone on.
Jessie absolutely loves gymnastics. Following her passion, it was the enthusiasm of this young gymnast that inspired her gym to offer a Special Olympics opportunity. Attending her first competition in 2022, where she competed and cheered alongside fellow club team members, Jessie's parents said "it was one of her best days". The family felt so supported and could see the effort everyone went too in order to make sure Jessie was also made to feel included. With a supportive and encouraging club community and family, this young gymnast is the true embodiment of gymnastics.
At only 5 years old, Mia was diagnosed with Stargardt Disease, a genetic eye disorder that causes progressive vision loss. It affects the macula, an area of the retina responsible for sharp, central vision. Over the years Mia’s vision has declined resulting in a vision level of 6/78. To put this into perspective 6/6 (20/20) is normal vision, 6/18 is low vision and 6/60 is legally blind. Mia has difficulties with depth perception, color vision, contrast, glare sensitivity and seeing anything that is not very close to her. For example, when participating in gymnastics Mia can’t recognize faces, officials movements or see the vault from the end of the strip. In 2022, Mia qualified for the Victorian Championships at Level 5 Div 2 both with her team, and as an individual. Mia is known as a hard worker with incredible internal motivation. She is always happy for her teammates and has a very mature approach towards competitions, focusing on personal goals and progress during competition season rather than medals and placings.
Patrick has been competing in gymnastics since 2009. In 2010, 2014 and 2018 he represented Victoria in the Special Olympics National Games. In 2019 he represented Australia in Special Olympics World Games coming away with an overall silver, a gold for floor, silver for vault and p/bars, and bronze for high bar and rings. In 2017 Patrick gave a display on rings at the World Cup held in Melbourne. In 2021 Patrick attended the Queensland State Club Championships border challenge and came home with another swag of medals. This year Patrick is competing at National Clubs, representing Jets and Special Olympics National Games - again representing Victoria. Patrick is a qualified beginner coach and demonstrates to the younger gymnasts how to do their routines. Patrick's dedication to his gymnastics, especially over the past few years when he couldn't get into the gym has really shown up this year getting back all the upper body strength he lost during the pandemic due to lack of training. To keep some fitness, Patrick took up walking from between 10 to 20 kilometers a day. Patrick has gone up a level and is doing this outside of his comfort zone, such is his willingness to succeed and be a proud representative for Victoria.
Voting and additional award finalists will be announced in the coming days.