Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

It's all fun and games for these junior gymnasts

Having a great time competing in Portage

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PORTAGE LA PRAIRIE -- Brooke Bouchard thinks that the most fun thing to do in the Athletes Village at the Power Smart Manitoba Winter Games is "probably sleeping."

Nerisse Martinuk, loves to bounce, and has put her family through three couches since she was four years old.

Between the two gymnasts they collected six gold medals, two silver and one bronze Tuesday. Obviously the two, who represent the Winnipeg Blue region, have other talents.

Bouchard, who couldn't weigh 70 pounds soaking wet, picked up gold in the Provincial 2 10-11 Level uneven bars, beam and all-round categories as well as a silver in the vault. Her gold-medal scores were 12.400, 12.100 and 48.500 respectively.

Martinuk had three Advanced 10-11 Level (recreation) gold medals in vault, floor (tied with Amber Wiebe of Central), and all round. She also won silver in uneven bars (tied with Hailey Moran of Western) and bronze on the beam. Martinuk's gold medal scores were 12.450, 12.300 and 48.850. Respectively.

Bouchard, who says, "I haven't got a clue," when asked how much she weighs, didn't start out as a gymnast. "I was playing soccer first," said the Samuel Burland Grade 6 student. "But I wasn't really very good at that. Then I saw gymnastics on TV when I was little, four or five years old, and said I wanted to try it."

The one event Bouchard didn't medal in was the floor, but she doesn't believe that the music she chose had anything to do with that. It's just not her best event. "My floor routine was done to Dirty Boogie," she said. "I think it was me who picked it out. I just liked it."

Martinuk, who performed her floor routine to Oceans 12, said that the floor is her favourite event, but overall, she had to fight off butterflies.

"I'm really happy about winning," said the 12-year-old Ecole Golden Gate student. "I was a little bit nervous, but once I got out there doing my routines, the nerves kind of pretty much went away."

Her dad Tim wasn't surprised at his daughter's medal haul. "She climbs everything and anything," he said. "In fact, we tease her that she's killed three couches from bouncing on them. Her feet are never on the floor."

Martinuk, who also figure skates, and has been involved in swimming, said that for now she is happy to compete at the recreational level. Would she move up at some time in the future? "Maybe, but right now I'm just having fun," she says.

Bouchard said she felt good going into the event, but, "I didn't think this (her medals) would happen."

Also winning gold medals in the Advanced 10-11 group were Kayla Sterling of Winnipeg Gold on uneven bars (12.400), and Marissa Friesen of Winnipeg Gold on beam (12.300).

In Provincial 2 10-11, gold medals also went to Stephanie Pantel of Winnipeg Blue in vault (12.400) and Taylor Goodon of Western on the floor (12.200).

Competition in gymnastics continues today in Southport with 13-older female and boys 10-12, and 13-older competitions, but for Bouchard and Martinuk, it's time to put their feet up, relax and catch up with all their friends at the Village.

"They have a games room there, but I like playing with all the girls there, that's a lot of fun," said Bouchard, who along with Martinuk says "the food is great."

"I like the scrambled eggs in the morning the most," laughed Martinuk.

The Games continue until Saturday.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 10, 2010 C8

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