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Ottawa trio to represent Team Ontario in acrobatic gymnastics competition


To be the best you have to train like the best, and that’s exactly what one acrobatic gymnastics trio is doing in Ottawa.

"We have to make sure everything is perfect, neat and tidy and you have to have the facial expressions," said 9-year-old gymnast Lila Lawson.

Lila and her trio are getting ready to head to Kelowna, B.C. next weekend to represent Team Ontario at a national gymnastics competition.

It’s been an exciting season for the 9-year-old, who is among the youngest in the province to compete at her level.

"It’s really fun because even though you know you’re one of the younger ones, it doesn’t mean that you can’t beat them," she said.

For Lila, it’s all about hard work and determination. She’s a two-time provincial champion and it’s only her second season competing in acrobatic gymnastics.

"Lila, Gabby and Chelsea compete at level 7 of the USDP program. That level is the first level that has eligibility to the Canadian Championships," said head coach Stephanie Dovigi.

It’s a sport slowing gaining momentum in Ontario and across the country.

"In some respects, acro is the oldest discipline of gymnastics and yet in many cases it’s also one of the newest competitive disciplines," said Dovigi.

Dovigi says acrobatic gymnastics is unique as it brings traditional artistic gymnastics on a floor with tumbling elements with a twist.

"There's also elements that people associate with things like Cirque du Soleil with balance elements and handstands and also elements of what people can associate with cheerleading," Dovigi said.

Even though it’s their first season competing together, the trio is already bringing home top medals.

"[Provincials] was really fun. We had our highest score and it was just so exciting to watch us perform," said Lila.

While acrobatic gymnastics is not an Olympic sport, there are 19 athletes who compete at Stittsville’s Olympia Gymnastics, up from seven in 2019.

"A few more clubs in the GTA and Niagara Falls, mostly Fort Erie, started a club recently and they’ve been growing their programs trying to get a bigger presence for acro in Ontario and Canada," said gymnast, Baylee Christink.

With all their recent success, there is no telling how far they will go. Top Stories

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